The Western Cape Education Department has crowned the best teachers in the province at the 2019 Provincial Teachers Awards. The awards acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of teachers who excel, often under difficult circumstances.
Education MEC Debbie Schafer says the province is very fortunate to have many excellent educators who continue to go selflessly beyond the call of duty to ensure that their learners receive the best quality education.
The theme for this year’s awards was “be the legacy”. Speaking at the gala awards evening Schafer expressed the hope that teachers would think carefully about the legacy they are leaving.
“You can leave a legacy by instilling in your learners the attitude that they can achieve what they want to if they work hard, that if they are poor it does not mean they are stupid, and it doesn’t mean they have to stay poor. You can instil hope in people who have none. And our teachers in Khayelitsha are clearly doing that. I heard that all our matrics who lost their homes in the devastating fire a few weeks ago are writing their exams. Why? Because they don’t want to live in shacks anymore and know that the only way they will get out of that situation is if they pass their exams and get a good education.”
Schafer says this is the kind of legacy that teachers need to leave.
So who are these legends in education, who will now go on to represent the province in the national leg of the competition?
Ms Getruida Coetsee of Bellpark Primary School in Bellville, received the award for excellence in Grade R Teaching. She instils a sense of worth in her Grade R class to ensure that their reception year is an introduction to an exciting educational journey.
Mr Wayne de Jager of Citrusdal Primary, recognised for excellence in in Primary School Teaching, makes use of technology in his teaching and different research strategies to improve the skills base of his learners.
English teacher, Ms Mona Matthews of Gansbaai Academia, awarded for excellence in Secondary School Teaching, strives to go beyond the curriculum and is involved in various projects which boost learner morale and esteem.
Ms Michelle Roberts of the Alta du Toit School in Kuils River, who came out tops in the Special Needs Teaching category, loves using technology and writes her own interactive stories using PowerPoint to aid her teaching. Through her stories, learners engage while acquiring key Mathematics, Language and Life Skills.
Mr Phillip Jansen of Fezekile Secondary School, recognised for excellence in teaching Mathematics, believes every child has immense potential, and through technology seeks to change learners’ perception of Mathematics.
Hermanus High teacher, Ms Ansie de Kock, also has a special way of teaching Mathematics. Awarded for excellence in Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning, she uses a digital pen and drawing pad to ensure that she always faces her learners when writing to make her interaction with them more effective.
Hermanus High also boasts with the award for excellence in teaching Physical Science. Ms Charlotte Marx has been described as a born teacher, playing a crucial role in making science comprehensible.
The awards ceremony also recognised the top Principals, at Primary and Secondary school level.
Athlone North Primary School Principal, Ms Beverley, is passionate about the children, the community and the school, and believes that every learner can rise above their circumstances.
Riebeeck Valley Special School Principal, Mr Jeffrey Petersen, has been described as a visionary, starting fundraising projects to expand the original three workshops to ten, to cater for woodwork, motor mechanics, welding, general maintenance, hair and beauty care, clothing manufacturing, hospitality services and office practice. The levels of learner performance were outstanding in relation to their performance at mainstream schools.
Principals who are actively involved in After-School Programmes were also honoured. With so many learners coming from impoverished backgrounds, the Department says after-school activities are key to closing the opportunity gap and igniting a love for learning.
Beacon Hill Secondary Principal, Gregory Kannemeyer, Elizabethfontein Primary Principal, Anna Dames, and Grosvenor Primary Principal, Terence Adams, were awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold, respectively, for opening their doors to learners after hours so they can reach their full potential.
Last but not least, Klapmuts Primary Principle, Mr Ronald Frans, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served in education since 1981 and has played a vital role in many leadership positions. He fostered relations with several companies, resulting in the school receiving 12 smart classrooms, data projectors for 40 classrooms and 42 tablets through sponsorships. He lives by the belief that if you “give a man a fish you feed him for one day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
What is clear from all of the winners is that they are diligently serving their schools, and their legacy will be a generation of young people ready to take on the world.
Well done to all of our top teachers, and good luck for the nationals!