As we come to the end of this term, it is with much gratitude in my heart that I write this week’s newsletter. This has not been an easy term for anyone, parents, students and teachers alike. We have all had to adapt to a new type of “normal”, adjust our thinking and challenge ourselves in everything we attempted.
I hope you now understand what we mean when we say that ‘teaching is a calling’. I do not think there is any teacher who is in this profession for anything other than the love of children. After all, our children are our future. We nurture them so they may create a better tomorrow.
I salute every one of you parents. You have been challenged in this storm and have endured. At times you might have felt fearful of the unknown, yet every day brings new hope.
I am reminded of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:
“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.”
To every student, I wish you a wonderful time of rest during this holiday. May the time spent with family be one of joy and laughter.
To my staff, I wish a time of rest and refreshment. We will start the new term with renewed vigour and strength.
Stay safe and keep warm.
We celebrated our teachers this week and a big thank you to everyone who left them a special message on our Facebook page. It was wonderfully encouraging to see how much they are valued and appreciated.
This week we sent out a second letter explaining the plans and proposals that management are considering should school re-open in June. The measures which need to be in place require careful thought regarding planning and implementation and unfortunately, no simple solutions exist yet. For public schools, Years 7 and 12 students are critical for academic advancement but for us, the focus is on Years 10 and 12 as these two grades write their external Cambridge examinations in October.
There is also the reality that even if the government allows schools to re-open soon, some parents might not feel comfortable sending their children back to school. Our management team are therefore working on plans for hybrid-teaching. Similarly, we might have staff members who cannot return to work just yet as they are high risk individuals and this needs to be accounted for in our planning. These are just a couple of the issues that we are considering.
We will be prepared, with policies in place, to ensure the safety of staff and students when we return to campus. As per the letter I sent out earlier this week, we have already begun purchasing the necessary supplies (hand sanitizers, face masks, thermometers etc.) and have begun drafting a Covid 19 Policy Document.
During this difficult time, let us remember to be kind and encouraging to one another. We all need a bit of motivation in our lives and hopefully the later start to the school day, and the opportunity to exercise, will give us the boost we all need.
I would like to wish all the mothers a happy Mother’s Day this Sunday. I hope you will be spoiled and feel appreciated for all you do!
Here are a few ways to remain positive during this time:
- Set boundaries and take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.
- Take time away from the online world (internet, social media, emails etc.).
- Pursue a neglected hobby or take up a new one.
- Keep informed about the situation, but do not become burdened with negativity.
- Reach out to others (within the boundaries of social distancing) and be a blessing in someone’s life.
- Make time for family activities and value the time spent with loved ones.
There is a writer in you, in all of us! This is the perfect time to write that story which may prove to be the inspiration someone else so desperately seeks.
We are all looking forward to hearing our President say that our lives are going back to normal, but hopefully this experience will affect our perception of normal; hopefully it will have taught us new skills and offer us a different way of looking at life.
I wish you all a blessed Easter weekend and hope you enjoy some wonderful family time.
Welcome to Term 2. Most of us are working from home and juggling our jobs and the education of our children. This can feel daunting and overwhelming, especially with all the challenges at the moment. I wish to reassure you that this is a season; this too shall pass, and we will overcome!
In our household we are trying to focus on the positive. Whilst my husband is working as he normally would and is able to leave home, I am stuck in the dining room, caught between Mathematics and English comprehension… not to mention the PEEL paragraphs and the 350-word essays!
So how do we look at things positively?
- I get to spend more time with my daughter.
- I realized again today that relationships between colleagues are so important and the little daily interactions we take for granted are sorely missed during a time like this! I work with a group of special people and observing how they encourage one another is special indeed.
- I can teach my daughter new skills such as cross stitch, embroidery, baking and cooking. (and learn the Math on Sparx!)
- I am encouraged by the numerous messages from parents and students and their positive attitudes during this time.
The system of online learning is as new to us as it is to you and there will be bumps in the road and challenges to overcome, but we will get there if we work together and communicate openly. Ensure that your children work as independently as possible and follow their normal school timetable with regards to daily lessons. Please contact the relevant teacher or staff member should you encounter a problem or have a query. No question is a stupid question. We are here to help and assist and to go the extra mile!
This morning I read an encouraging poem that I hope will be an encouragement to you too.
“When this is over, may we never again take for granted a handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theater, Friday nights out, the taste of communication, a routine checkup, a school rush each morning, coffee with a friend, the stadium roaring, each deep breath, a boring Tuesday, life itself.
When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way – better for each other because of the worst. “– Laura Kelly Fanucci
Until things normalise, we are at your service via email, telephone calls, messages and Engage!
Wishing you all health and safety!
I realize more and more that time is a precious commodity. We are facing various threats and challenges in our lives and we all deal with these in our own way.
At the moment we are all very aware of the COVID-19 virus and the threat it poses. We are taking preventative measures and have strategies in place should a crisis situation arise in the Western Cape. I am mindful that as parents we have concerns and we need to plan. It is vital, however, that we do not panic or overreact.
We have a few more days until the end of the term and we are all looking forward to spending time with our families. This is a good time to reflect; spend time with our children and plan for the possibilities of what we might face.
Next week Key Stage 1 will have a Spelling Bee on Monday and Tuesday. School will close earlier on Wednesday, but aftercare will be available.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday ahead and I hope we all return with renewed vigour and strength.
Last Friday the high school participated in the ISA Inter-Schools Athletics Day. Although we did not win first place for the sport, we were winners in a different sense.
The conduct of our high school students conduct was impeccable. Teachers did not have to address indiscipline at all. Our students were well behaved and enthusiastic in cheering on their team mates.
Their conduct made me reflect on healthy, established boundaries. All children need boundaries. In fact, they thrive when boundaries are set and good structure is in place. When children are younger we teach them rules such as no hitting, no grabbing and no interrupting. When they are older it becomes a little bit more difficult especially with the social interactions they have. This is when we teach them to respect others and the boundaries others have in place for themselves.
To establish this, one has to teach them to be aware not just of themselves, but also of others. We need to teach them to have sympathy, empathy and to be conscious of the feelings of those around them. This will also eliminate any sense of entitlement, as reflection of one’s own behavior helps with self-awareness.
This was the model behavior I witnessed in our students last week. Well done to all parents and staff for their hard work in developing such respectful and conscientious young adults.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
It was an absolute pleasure to see our students dress up for the civvies day yesterday. What was even more awesome to see, is how the love was shared through friendships and that the emphasis was on loving one another as friends.
This is a key lesson of kindness and care that should be instilled at a very young age.
In our newsletter last week, I shared on the challenges we as educators face at school regarding cyber bullying, so called “freedom of speech” in Whatsapp groups and the negative effect it has on our children. Sadly, this is not a teenage problem, but students as young as 9 years old, are bombarded with content on their phones which are not age appropriate.
We had the pleasure of hosting a talk with Emma Sadleir last night and we are very grateful to the parents who made the effort to come and listen. We wish to commend each and every one who attended last night as it showed your support in raising a generation equipped to deal with the technological challenges.
We will schedule another session with her to address our students soon. It is vital that we are aware of the beast we deal with and as parents to be equipped to train our children.
Have a wonderful weekend of shared love with family and friends
“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.”
― George Washington Carver
Our world has become a place of intolerance, impatience and entitlement. It saddens me to see the anger and impatience of drivers when they have to share the road with pedestrians and instead of honouring the elderly members of our community, we treat them as a burden.
At Blouberg International we teach our students to greet parents, staff and visitors. Respect and kindness is never wasted.
You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force. Educating our children is far more than academics; it is also the tolerance, respect and compassion we show and teach our children.
As a country we are gearing up for the Rugby World Cup finals on Saturday. In support of our national team therefore, students will enjoy a free civvies day tomorrow (Friday, the 1st of November) and we encourage everyone to wear green and gold in support of the Springboks.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
The definition of appreciation- the thoughts of a teacher.
It’s the little things.
As clichéd as it might sound, I truly feel that it is the small moments of triumph, the quiet moments we keep to ourselves when an involuntary smile breaks across our face and a lightness, a sense of joyous freedom descends; these are the moments we return for.
Humans need to feel valued, is this not a universal truth? Most of us want our value vocalized, trumpeted, for us to feel secure.
I am coming to realize that teachers are a little different in this respect.
The importance of teachers is undisputed and good teachers are invaluable. I think we know our value and it’s not just about our students reaching a predefined academic standard. We applaud the A’s and encourage the C’s and, naturally, seeing a student or a class improve over time gives us pleasure; it’s the pleasure of knowing that we are fulfilling our purpose, our requirements. Where I believe the true joy in teaching lies is in the little moments, insignificant perhaps in the grand scheme of academic terms and mark sheets, but nourishing to the soul of a teacher.
The simple phrase “thank you, ma’am” has a healing quality which can transform bitterness into relief, it can coax a reluctant smile from even the most recalcitrant of jawlines. A scribbled note in the corner of the board, a ‘U rock!’ Or perhaps a ‘stay awesome!’- it doesn’t secure an A, but it sure secures a smile.
We enjoyed a visit from Andrew Blackie (Commercial Director) and Louise Mayor (Head of Marketing) of Sparx this week. The Sparx Programme will be introduced to our School next year. More information will be sent to parents shortly.
Wishing you a restful weekend.
“The bottom line is that you are the one who is creating your life the way it is. The life you currently live is the result of all of your past thoughts and actions. You are in charge of your current thoughts and your present feelings. You are in charge of what you say and what you do. To be more successful, all you have to do is act in ways that produce more of what you want. That’s it, It’s that simple!” – The success principles: Jack Canfield.
Last Friday, the 15th of February, we had our ISA sports day at the Swartland Hoërskool in Malmesbury. Our students had phenomenal spirit and made us proud in every event they participated in. As is normal during sports days, one or two athletes sustained injuries and we had to improvise by having reserves run in their stead. One of the highlights of the day was the relay event for the under 15 boys. During this event we had a reserve run who ensured that we won the race! When he took off from the starting line, I could not help but wonder why he had not been participating the entire day as he was clearly a trained and talented athlete. When I asked the student after the race why he had not been participating the entire day, he responded, “I was fearful Ma’am! I did not think that I could do it.” I realized that there are probably more students who talents are hidden from us because they are afraid to enter, afraid of failure. This is the case with so many of us at times. We fear failure, disappointment and rejection and hence we do not even try.
The above quote from Jack Canfield challenges me daily to do more, be more, strive for more and succeed according to my own strengths. May it challenge each and every one of you to strive for more in your daily lives. Let us all challenge our fears as we never know what hidden talents lie beneath the depths and we all deserve the chance to let those talents shine.
Our new jungle gym was completed on Tuesday the 19th of February and we opened it up to the Foundation Stage this morning. What an amazing experience to see the excitement on the faces of the students and hear the gratitude in their voices.
We will start construction of the cricket pitch this weekend and we ask all students and parents to bear with us during this time as the pitch will not be available next week.
Onward and upwards we go as we continue to grow from strength to strength. Thank you for all your support on this journey!