Teaching is an integral part of my life. From the time that I took the big decision to study teaching, up to the moments that I spend with the learners in school, as well as with my own grandchildren, ‘teaching mode’ is how I function best. So whether it’s incidental learning as we watch a bug crawling on a leaf, or planned purposeful teaching, that’s what I’m passionate about.
I choose still to be a learner and therefore tackle, what for me, are fearsome things like financial literacy, to the enjoyment of creative learning such as photography and landscaping. Being involved in a busy school where learning takes place from the very littlest one who says “babee” in English for the first time, to a French-speaking parent who smiles in delight after having gained skills to help their child progress in reading, is what I love.
I’m married to a wonderful man who chooses to farm, which, over the years, has meant living in very rural areas. So, for me, teaching has been fitting in to where I can pursue helping children flourish. From a far-flung school situated in Falo where I taught English in a high school, to teaching in a top-end private school, I have found great satisfaction in helping learners reach beyond limiting barriers, to become the best they can possibly be.
Teaching adults to read successfully, write, do Math, or helping a four-year old develop their balance, brings me a deep sense of fulfillment.
As a pioneer and leader in a strong team, I have successfully started two schools. I was one of the founder teachers in another school group, and over time was promoted to leadership in that institution, finishing after eleven years there, as principal. From that position I took on the post of school administrator in a United States-supported private school, run mainly for orphans who faced extreme challenges in learning because of neglect, abuse, and complications related to, among others, difficulties such as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
I believe in having parents involved in the teaching and raising of their children, and forming strong partnerships with parents to ensure that both school and home, work effectively together to rear children who are well balanced, with the ability to meet the challenges of life with confidence and grace.
I place an extremely high value on the family, and create opportunities for families within the school context to grow as parents, and for children to develop skills that foster good family relationships. When families face a crisis, or need guidance in child rearing, as a trained counsellor, I come alongside these families in order to assist them to define, and then remediate these crises.
A strong school with strong links into families, church, and the greater community, helps prepare children to do life, because life is about teaching and learning.
Principal’s dream for the school
Younger children need loving nurture that leads them step-by-step into learning, through directed and well-structured play. This is the tenet that is at the foundation of Sungarden Nursery School.
In the garden area of our school, children learn, climb, run, practise gross motor skills, and use props to participate in fantasy play.
By having fun, and developing routines that are consistently put into place so that children are supported as they grow, children are shepherded into a more structured environment. From the youngest in our school, to the pre-school year, the focus is on all-round development that meets the needs of the growing child in a constantly changing society. So the daily programme contains at its core, a sound curriculum that focuses on the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, life skills, creative, and spiritual growth of each child. The child as an individual is catered for in the learning programme, and help is given when it is recognised that a child is not meeting goals.
Out of this established and successful background, the same qualities of individual learning that equip children for life, became the foundation on which we base a primary school.
At Eastside Primary School, the same warm and caring atmosphere exists, but learners tackle the task of more formal learning. With a vibrant and enthusiastic staff, learning takes place in such a way that each child is encouraged to be the best they can be, and appreciated for who they are. Barriers to learning are addressed on an individual basis. Success is celebrated. Learners are encouraged. Family is consulted when difficulties arise.
My dream is that each learner, from the very youngest to the oldest, would reach their full potential, not only in an academic sense but as a well-balanced, positive, secure, and caring individual who can do life successfully with a deep awareness that significance can be measured in a variety of ways.
I would love to see a school where learning is encouraged to take place in ways that meet the needs of learners and is not only carried out in traditional ways. For older learners, taking a technological leap from text book to e-learning or using master teachers from all over the world, creates an environment where restrictions to learning cease to exist. This would be the way that I see future learners going in order to be as relevant as possible.
Having a school experience that continues to be positive, with children who are motivated in such a way that self-learning and internal discipline becomes the norm, is what I would like our school to move toward. To achieve that means putting building blocks in place, one-by-one, to ensure that learners are enabled to achieve this goal. We would like to have learners with good character formation, strong values and a clear sense of right and wrong, who would bring to our community a sense of righteousness, justice, and children ready to lead the way.