I am writing this article on the morning of World Teachers’ Day: 5 October. It is interesting to reflect on how the role of the teacher has changed in our modern world. Traditionally, the teacher has been the imparter of knowledge and skills aimed at preparing the child for a place in an industrialised workplace. Numeracy and literacy were combined with general knowledge and scientific skills to become the basket of goods delivered by the teacher.
After several Cataflams and Voltaren shots to the lower back, I have managed to recover somewhat to reflect on the Old Boys cricket event last Saturday.
Following on from last year’s successful Old Boys game against the Goblins, this year we hosted another mighty cricket clash between the Old Boys of two highly regarded prep schools - ST PETER’S vs THE RIDGE. The two matches were played in buoyant spirit with both young and old - a number of festive “20 Somethings” bringing lots of banter and great fun. One game was certainly played in a more competitive spirit whilst the “mixed ability” game enjoyed more humour and liquid refreshments.
This past week, St Peter’s Boys Prep held its second Flexible Learning Programme (FLP) of the year. The boys had great fun, as did the teachers and so much was learnt in this very special week.
The Housemaster body recently attended a workshop on the “Broken Window‘’ approach to discipline. The emphasis was on how the effective management of pupil behaviour in schools plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy school environment.
It is generally accepted these days that heavy handed enforcement tends to breed resentment amongst the pupils. Pupils respond better to motivation and encouragement which is a big part of the St Peter’s philosophy. One has to be careful not to fall into the trap of accepting that standards have slipped and that this is the “modern way.”
The spectre of racism, which arose so powerfully at the end of last year, constitutes a disheartening reminder of how little progress we have made in uniting as a nation since 1994.
I often think that as South Africans, one of our most limiting characteristics is that we do not know how to listen. We listen to respond rather than to understand. This is why, for me, the Parent Transformation Meeting held a few weeks ago was so important. It provided the first real opportunity for people, with different life experiences, to listen respectfully to each other.