Where did you go to school and what is your previous job experience?
I was born in South Africa, and grew up in a gold mining community because my dad was a mining engineer. I went to an Afrikaans university in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, which was different from anything my friends and I’d experienced before. I was not sure whether I wanted to be a teacher or a librarian (I love reading!), so I did a B.Bibl.Ed degree, which qualified me to do both. My first job was at a high school for boys in Johannesburg, where I was a teacher-librarian for nine years. Meanwhile, I had completed my Master’s degree in Educational Media, and was offered a job at a teacher’s training college in Pretoria. Six years later it was decided that the college will be amalgamated with another teacher’s training college in the province, and to do that, both collegs had to be closed and a “new” college created. Some positions at the college became redundant, and the staff were given the opportunity to choose between staying at the new college or taking an early retirement package. I was ready for a change in my life at that point, and consequently decided to take the retirement package and use the money to relocate to the USA. I applied for the ITS position at Park Center in 1996, and remained in that job for nine years before accepting my present position as ELL teacher at Park Center at the beginning of the 2005/2006 school year.
How long have you worked at Park Center?
This is my 25th year in teaching, and my 10th year at Park Center.
What is your teaching philosophy?
There is no point in having a mind if you can’t change it. As a student, it is one’s job to “change one’s mind” all the time, be it through thinking, studying, reading, questioning…. The teacher’s job is to facilitate this process of “mind changing” constantly in a creative way. Everyone else’s job in the school system, be it as an administrator, computer technology support person, ITS ( my previous job!) or even school board member, is to make it possible for the teacher to do this job effectively.
Why did you choose your profession?
Homer Hickam (author and Nasa engineer – also the main character in the wonderfully inspiring movie, “October Sky”) once said “an ignorant child is as sure a victim of child abuse as one that arrives in school with bruises and welts,” and I believe that is very true. Education provides one with the key to success in life; without it, your chances of succeeding in life are greatly diminished. As an educator, you can make a difference in people’s lives; provide kids with access to that key…
What is your favorite quote?
“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life,
or in the life of another.” (Helen Keller)
In what room(s) can you commonly be found?
I love reading (the reason I became a librarian!), traveling and watching movies. There’s a pattern here – all of these provide one with other ways to grow, open one’s mind
Advice for students going to college?
Education provides one with the key to success in life… so, grab it, and open as many doors as you can with this key!
Biggest pet peeve?
Students who don’t appreciate the amazing opportunities they have access to at Park Center. Students here have access to more opportunities than even the most expensive private schools in South Africa can provide for their students…. and it’s free!
Sum up your career at Park Center in one word
My “other home” now that I’m so far from my family.
If you were required to find a different job than what you are currently doing, what would you choose?
Any job that will allow me to grow and learn, and also make as many friends, as much as I have in my job as a media and language teacher over the last 25 years.