Showing posts from June, 2015

Staff Appreciation Days should be the norm at schools.

I know many schools have their own Staff Appreciation Day and that's brilliant.  And, I HOPE they include all the non-educators on this day as well. There are SO many wonderful souls working at schools.  I am, of course, privileged to interact with the non-teaching staff members at schools when I visit.

After having been off sick for three weeks, I am now visiting the schools again. The reception I receive at all the schools makes me feel like the prodigal son! Before I can engage the school principal, the admin staff and the ground staff also want to chat and welcome me back. They show no reserve. We get ourselves all tangled in hugs, greetings, health enquiries and well wishes until everybody is satisfied that all is well.

I love the response of the school heads when these exchanges take place. They do not try to stop these conversations and often just stand in the background, enjoying and silently approving this display of mutual affection. At one school, just after the bell h…

We say `'Well Done" to two teachers whose full-time teaching career has come full circle

Maurien Jacobs, the principal of Blouvlei LSEN school and Doreen Parker, an educator at Levana Primary School, will be retiring at the end of this term. Between the two educators, they have served  the Steenberg-Lavender Hill community for a whopping 98 years!

Maurien Jacobs taught at Blouvlei LSEN for 16 years. For the past seven years, Maurien was the school principal of the school. Over the sixteen years Maurien travelled every school day from Wellington, a Cape Winelands town situated 85 kilometers from her school. She covered roughly 544,000 km to and from school over the sixteen years. That is about twelve times around the world! This sounds crazy, but this is what Maurien did without batting an eyelid. She would report for duty every single day at 7:15 and frown upon those who came late to school.

Maurien Jacobs 

 I asked Maurien what motivated her to travel her so far.

"Many people have asked me the same question, especially given the huge transport costs I had to offset.…

A Step-by-step guide for newly qualified teachers to complete the WCED online Curriculum Vitae.

Why this special post regarding online CVs for newly qualified teachers.
My niece, Kristen, is going through the same CV pains that we, the veteran teachers, experienced YONKS ago. How do you write an impressive Curriculum Vitae for a teaching job when the only experience you have are the years of hard study and simulated teaching practice in the lecture room?

"I don't know how to complete that Experience Set field. Please help, Aunty dearest!" This was the desperate whatsapp text I received from Kristen. And of course, we don't want to see our starry-eyed, novice teachers in dire straits.  We get our act together and SO...

Don't despair, newly-qualified teachers! 
 Firstly, let us welcome you to the most rewarding profession that you will be entering. You are guaranteed to have a never-ending journey and you will grow in leaps and bounds during your first year.  So, let us get you started on the road to crafting your online CV masterpiece.

 I have written a serie…

A warm, welcoming entrance at Hillwood Primary school brightened up this chilly Autumn Day.

I was SO excited when I saw how Hillwood Primary School In Lavender Hill has beautified their entrance to the school.  The clinical look was gone and in its place, an inviting space that welcomes you as soon as you set foot into the administration block of the school.

Three teachers - Ms Powell, Ms Johannes and Ms Williams were the project managers. Mr Klein, the caretaker principal at the school explained that these three teachers worked after school and over weekends to complete the project.

I wanted to know what prompted the makeover of the foyer area.

"The area looked drab. We wanted a bright, sunny colour and wanted the foyer to be warm and welcoming," said Ms Powell. "We recruited painters from the community, via Ms Adams, the school governing chairperson, and roped in Tarno, a talented artist who is employed at Levana Primary School. It is the first time that he has attempted to make a plaque and he himself was chuffed with the final product."

"There w…

Grade 12's need a sustained care and support programme alongside their hectic academic schedule.

No Grade 12 class should be without a deep care and support programme for the duration of their final school year.  The Grade 12s need a sustained programme that focuses on their well-being alongside their hectic academic schedule. Their emotional state can often help them achieve or hinder them from being successful in their final NSC examination.

Grade 12 is the most vulnerable group in the system.
Grade 12 students are probably the most vulnerable group in education, in terms of the high levels of stressors that they are subjected to.  The Grade 12's are in the systems pressure cooker from the day they set foot in their Grade 12 class. Suddenly they are placed in the spotlight by the media and the public. They now have to prove to the nation that they are worthy of the Grade 12 certificate.

These students have to contend with an academic year that is shorter and three huge examinations - two internal term examinations and then the big nutcracker, the NSC finals that start earl…

We can have powerful SGBs if we follow the Learning from a barefoot movement model.

SGBs are a rich, untapped resource at poor schools.
School Governing Bodies of poor schools are an untapped resource to help our schools become high performers.  I know there are many valid reasons why SGBs cannot perform their duties effectively; there is ample research and anecdotal evidence to support this. However, I believe that if we view the capacity-building of school governors as a key deliverable, we will be amazed at the profound richness that SGBs will bring to schools.

I  work closely with School Governing Bodies when I have to act as the resource person during the filling of School Principal or Deputy Principal posts. If you are a regular reader of the School Corridor Tatler blog, you will know that I serve schools in poor, depressed communities in the Lavender Hill-Steenberg belt. The parents who serve on the SGBs of these schools are mainly unemployed folk who have not completed their high school education.

Negative attitude towards SGBs may be biggest barrier.

A South African colleague shares her teaching experience in Oman in the Gulf.

Ingrid decided to exchange her South African classroom for a classroom in Oman. This is the interview I had with Ingrid about her experiences in Oman.

How long have you been teaching?

My name is Ingrid Morris.  I have been a teacher for 24 years.  I qualified in 1991 at the former Wesley Training College in Salt River.   At the start of my career, I really thought I had made the wrong career choice as teaching posts were scarce and it was really difficult to get a job.  Nevertheless, I persevered and I am still in the profession 24 years later!

Why did you choose to teach overseas?

It has always been a dream of mine to travel and teaching in The Gulf really appealed to me.  On the 1st of January 2013, I woke up with a very serious “bee in my bonnet” and decided to surf the net for teaching posts overseas.  I applied to 2 international recruitment agencies for the academic school year of 2013/2014 starting in August 2013 as the academic year here runs from August to June.  I also knew th…

"Every child can succeed if we turn around our schools through deep change" - Eugene Daniels

Today Eugene Daniels, gave a powerful talk at our SMT forum about the deep change we need if we want to turn schools around.

Eugene Daniels's message is clear: Let's teach beyond teaching to targets. Let's teach to each child's dream".  If children do not succeed, adults have to take responsibility for the children's failure. This is a 360 degree turn, flipping traditional thinking that blames the child for not achieving.

You must experience Eugene Daniels to benefit from his evidence-based talk about deep change. Besides drawing on literature, Eugene's shared how he is implementing the model of deep change and he gave us a few practical tips on how schools can deepen their own transformation.

 These are a few of the insights that I gleaned from the talk.

We must learn to do things differently.We should move away from doing more of the same. If we don't let ALL the learners succeed, we are NOT doing things differently. The latest research shows that our…