Memoirs: Teaching Snippets

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Forty years of teaching experience gives me a lot to reminisce about school, children, parents, teaching and teachers.

I was never cut out to be a teacher. Never liked teaching much too. But I, as a dedicated person, learned to give my best while working with children.

The best of my teaching time was when I taught English second language, history and technology at High School Secunda. I had year eight, nine and ten. Teenagers are difficult years. I usually had the average and below average students classes. The lessons had to be as colourful and well planned as could be so that they could participate naturally.

Those eight years at high school were trying years in South Africa. Secunda with  Sasol II and III was a danger zone for bomb attacks. The year twelve boys had to protect the school and patrolled the verandas around the classrooms. Guns were ready in the vault for in case. We also had regularly emergency evacuations.

We, as teachers, also trained to use a firearm. We had shooting exercises to make sure that we were prepared. We had to use our firearm for protection. It’s a big responsibility to protect children and keep them safe.

I usually had the slower children in my register class. Most of the time I had to be a mother, father and friend to these troubled children.

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One year I had a girls class. One of the girls was sent to a reform school. Her home environment was terrible. She was a real rebel and using drugs. I filled reports and forms on her behaviour which was a huge task. I know that she was rehabilitated at the end and wrote her matric. I was glad that she did well. The worst was that, the first day she was free to face life outside the school, a car killed her while crossing the street.

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Another year I had a boys class. They were a handful a real rough bunch. However, we playfully tackled the day’s work. There were twins, both in the same class. They were ten brothers and sisters, all equally rough. They were, however, a close family and well-mannered. After a year out of school, I met one of the twins at the shops. He was so happy to see me. His first words: “I was released from prison yesterday.I’m never going to lose my temper again.I want to be a good father to my child and husband to my wife.” It is sad that children who are inner good, land in situations that get out of control. Another boy one day shouted from the back of the room: “I won’t take out my book.”  I took him to the principal who gave him a proper reprimand. In the end, he was a grateful child who passed his year. He realised he had to do his work to achieve something. He bought me a coke and thanked me for helping him to stay on the right path. These small tokens of appreciation of educating children made it worth the while. I mostly had to do a lot of incentives work to convince them that, with hard work and pressure, life is worth it.

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These are a few snippets from my teaching journey.

26 thoughts on “Memoirs: Teaching Snippets

  1. Ai Scrapy jy laat my nou dink aan die fliek wat ek gekyk het. The Ron Clark story – ware verhaal .”In his small North Carolina hometown, Ron Clark (Matthew Perry) leads a comfortable life as a successful elementary school teacher, earning the respect of the community. However, he knows there are students elsewhere who need him more. Following his inner calling, Clark uproots to New York City, hoping to make a difference for the disenfranchised youths the school system has left behind. Clark makes it his mission to turn around the worst students, even though he knows his job is on the line.” Ek haal my hoed af vir goeie onderwysers waar dit oor die kind gaan en nie hulle ego nie.


    1. Die hoofde wat window dressing vereis vir bevordering het my koud gelaat. Ek het vir die laaste een wat dit van my verwag het reguit gese dit gaan oor skoolhou en nie oor hoeveel prentjies as versiering teen die mure het nie.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, what a world away from where you live now, Ineke! Such a tragic end to the girl’s life cut short by a road accident. Such a waste of a young life yet to be lived. But you also have these lovely memories of teaching where you made a difference to children’s lives. The impact of which would have been exponential in the most positive way. Teachers do a hard job but it has life long payoffs. I used to tell my son that few other jobs had an opportunity to make such a direct and positive difference to someone’s career and thus life!


    1. Yes, I a so happy that I could help many children to stay on route. The years in Secunda were hard years, not only in teaching but the dangerous circumstances that happened those days. My husband worked in Sasol III. He had to do security duty while still doing his normal job. Some days he could not leave the plant or go in because of the dangerous situation. The children at school all felt the pressure and we had to keep them calm too.

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  3. Skool en onderwys was darem baie anders in my jare op die platteland. Ons was nie juis bewus van enige gevare nie en respek vir onderwysers was hoog op die lys. Ek was geskik die dag toe ek ontdek het dat my kinders se klaskamers sterk diefwering voor elke deur en sekuriteitswagte by die heinings gehad het.


    1. Myne was enigste geleentheid om n kwalifikasie te kry. My ouers het ons al drie geleentheid gegee om verder te leer. Onderwys was enigste wat ons kon doen. Ek is dankbaar vir die geleentheid om te studeer. Die skoolhou was ook my behoud na my egskeiding en dood van my eks wat niks kon bydra nie omdat hy werkloos was.


  4. Ek stem saam. Onderwys issie vir sissies ni! Ek het op Sasol onderwys gegee. Afrikaans vir immigrante en Afrikaans tweede taal en voorligting(jeugweerbaarheid). So naby en so ver!


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