What made you decide to become a teacher?
I was born into a family of teachers and I am not exaggerating when I say that…my parents, sister, gran, great aunt, aunt, uncle and cousin are all teachers, so I think it is safe to say that teaching is in the blood! When I think about it, I remember spending many a day teaching my teddies in my room when I was a little girl, even making exercise books for some of them and trying to make sure that they all got individual attention from their teacher; but, in my teenage and early high school years, I was determined to break the mould and choose a different career path, Interior Decorating to be specific! This, however, was not meant to be and when Work Experience came around in Grade 11, I found myself in a classroom at Ridge Junior Primary School in Pietermaritzburg. By the end of the few days that I spent there, I knew that I couldn’t consider anything other than teaching as the future that I wanted to pursue. My studies at Embury Institute for Teacher Education, and all of the practical experience that went with it, further confirmed my choice and I have never looked back! Many say that teaching is a calling and I do believe that I was called to this profession.
What is your favourite subject to teach and why?
This is a very difficult question to answer as there are so many wonderful and rewarding components within each learning area that we teach in the Junior Primary. I love teaching Phonics and reading to the Grade Ones…it is always amazing to see how much the children develop in this area throughout the year, arriving with single sound knowledge and leaving reading short stories and writing full A4 pages on their news or creative writing stories. To echo another Junior Primary teacher’s comment from her Teacher Feature, it is so exciting to observe the children as they grasp new and complicated sounds that open up another world of writing and reading to them. I have also learnt so much about English and how words are composed through the Time2Read phonics programme that we use at Cowan House. I love how practical our curriculum is in the Junior Primary and we always have fun using concrete objects and activities when introducing Numeracy concepts. Theme and art work is another love of mine in my classroom as we have the opportunity to think out of the box, explore different topics and I always delight in the unique and character-filled art pieces that the children create. Connect time in the mornings, although not an official subject, is a very precious time for me as a teacher and, I believe, for the children. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn about Bible stories, valuable Christian teachings, pray together, discuss feelings and prepare calmly for the day ahead…many a profound statement or conversation has come from these times!
What is your first or favourite memory from going to school when you were a child?
I clearly remember how much I loved my Red Group (now Grade R) teacher! Aunty Sharon was just perfect to me and she made school a wonderful place to be…I still know her well and I have told her that if the children in my class love me half as much as I loved her, then I will be very happy! Another memory from school is when our Grade Two teacher gave us each a very special pencil as a Christmas gift at the end of our school year. She told us that when we used that pencil in Grade Three, we had to write with our neatest handwriting. I also remember my pink train lunch box, which I loved!
What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?
My hobbies include baking, sewing and knitting. I love to make or bake things for my family and friends and I always have projects on the go, although they take me ages to complete!! I am learning (slowly) to play the piano and I enjoy running short distances. I love reading and can easily get lost in a good book. I love spending time with my family and friends, food for my soul!
What inspires you?
I am blessed to be surrounded by so many inspirational people and my list could go on forever, but the first two answers that spring to mind are my God and my husband, who inspire me to be the best that I can be, live life to the full and see the positives in every situation. My parents have always been a wonderful inspiration to me as well, both as people and teachers. In my work place, I am inspired by my supportive, creative and dynamic colleagues and, of course, by all of the children that I teach!
What song do you know all the lyrics to?
Shaun Jacobs-End of the Road
What book are you currently reading?
David Attenborough-Adventures of a young naturalist. I love watching the Blue Planet and Planet Earth series, but I must admit that Attenborough’s book is taking me a while to get in to!
If you could take the students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?
I think I would take them to see the Northern Lights in Northern Norway. I got a very small glimpse of them when I was on student exchange in Norway in 2011 and I think it is a magical experience that should be on everybody’s ‘living list’. The Northern Lights occur much more frequently in Northern Norway than further south and I think it would be incredible to witness, for children and teachers alike!