“Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” Creating a sense of hope is a primary function of education. The circumstances in which we find ourselves as South Africans can sometimes lead to doubt and anxiety with regard to a hopeful future. During the past few weeks, I have been reminded of a future that has great possibility, an optimistic projection of where we as a community are moving to; we are moving forward.
In the most recent Mail and Guardian (21 September 2018), Nicola Vermooten (Industrial Psychologist) wrote an article titled ‘Better trained teachers will lead to economic transformation’. Her findings reiterate the importance of quality tertiary education and support the view that ‘prospective teachers should gain more hands-on teaching experience before entering the occupation”. At the Junior School we have the privilege of mentoring four outstanding teacher-interns through the Realema Intern Programme. We collaboratively learn from each other and welcome them into the teaching fraternity with full confidence.
Our interns, Katleho Diefo, Celiwe Magubane and Jessica Makamba-Otto started the week by presenting an assembly for all our girls. Their inspirational message was to encourage gratitude within our girls. Girls were reminded of the importance of appreciating themselves, their gifts and talents; appreciating others and appreciating their surroundings.
I also shared the importance of gratitude with our girls by suggesting that they write a gratitude journal or start a family gratitude jar. As family members, you can each write weekly gratitude reflections and place them in a large jar. Opening the jar and reading these messages on New Year’s Eve has become a family tradition of ours and one which is incredibly powerful.
Our teachers have found opportunities for our girls to continue meaningfully engaging with their community as a way to instil awareness, gratitude and hope. Our Grade 2 girls visited Siyakhana Gardens and explored the possibility of sustainable gardens and the impact on food security for our country. Our Grade 3 team invited St Vincents’ school for the deaf to share a day of games and collaboration. It was an incredible day, a highlight in our teachers’ career thus far.
Last week we invited a guest speaker, Mr Jakes Fredericks, current Head of St Stithians Boys’ Preparatory to engage in conversation with our staff regarding ‘Unconscious Bias’. This opened our conversation circles and heightened awareness for us all.
These positive, energising, thought-provoking events were just a selection of occurrences which built up to the highlight of the week- Our Whole School Heritage Assembly. In amongst the joyous cultural, dance and music celebrations, our community joined in the celebration of our individual stories. Truly sharing personal stories and journeys is the first step to deep and profound progress. Our Grade 7 girls have written extraordinary poems in this regard. We will be publishing these poems as an iBook for all to enjoy.
As we begin to prepare for Goodwill Day, another opportunity to inspire hope, I remind you that school is closed on Friday 5th October. Information regarding the flipped classroom experience on this day will be communicated. I look forward to full participation on Goodwill Day.
Yes, we are moving forward, we are instilling hope, one interaction at a time.
Kim Lowman – Head: Junior School