Today marks the start of Spring, whether officially so or not. It also marks the end of a month long focus on women in South Africa. It passed by so quickly. And when you take a cursory glance at the news, the violence towards the fairer sex hasn't abated...it's as if it was simply on "pause" for 30 days!
So I choose the 1st of September to spotlight Sharon, Kay, Colleen, Irene, Elize and Helen, our colleagues in CT1. I know they may not like the idea of this attention, but I salute them in the narrative that follows.
On June 2008 the team assembled in Fish Hoek for the 1st time (Kay joined in 2009). We all knew each other as colleagues in-the-field, but were new to each other as a unit.
Over the last five years I've had the privilege to stand "at-the-head" of this group of educators. It has been a professional journey with many twists and turns, but one I've thoroughly enjoyed in their company.
Sharon and Kay are our IMG Managers. Both are strong characters and are passionate about their work, but are also so different in execution. But one aspect you appreciate when in their company - they will tell it as they see it, whether it makes you comfortable or not. And be gaurenteed that their independent thinking will s-t-r-e-t-c-h your own. And in the midst of the debate, they will occasionally call for a legstretch and continue the chat in the company of Peter Styvesant outside the building. They are committed to help our schools in their areas of strength. You can't ask for more.
Colleen, is the Foundation Phase Curriculum Advisor. She lives for her work, often to the detriment of the rest of her life! She doesn't hold back if her work environment requires her attention. Often, she is attending weekend events because she believes that she must share in the experiences of her school-based colleagues. And she does this without coercion. She reads policy documents like a person who has been deprived of sustenance at times, and at the drop-of-a- hat, can pull the same from her bag should you require to see it. And be assured that no meeting will not have a note if Colleen was present - in fact, we will get pages of detail, with a reminder that this was only her view.
Irene, our Learning Support Advisor and Elize, our Social Worker, pay attention to issues that place learners-at-risk. And they too can be temperamental. With strong opinions on the subject, you know you will get to know their views when required. And despite their claims to the contrary, they are quite savvy around many of the issues affecting our schools. Not as feisty as our IMGs, they have managed to generated their own heat over five years across the circuit.
Bringing up-the-rear, is Helen. I deliberately hold commentary on her for last. Together with Thomas, Helen is the rivet that keeps the unit together. I often worry if she should not be around - I know we will come apart at the seams! Unobtrusively and without fanfare, she IS the heartbeat of the office. She ensures that the office clicks over with a regular and consistent rhythm. Our schools trust her implicitly, secure in the knowledge she is trying to sort out their issues and they will receive feedback. I've learnt this whenever I answer the telephone - people want to speak to Helen! And they are virtually instructional in tone! And I simply handover the receiver.
Together with Pierre, Michael, Thomas and I, these 6 women form Circuit Team One. I salute them for their strength, tenacity and commitment. Thank you for your openness and engaging personalities and for sharing your vulnerabilities, which you've so openly allowed us to experience. You have made us better human beings and I look forward to continue this journey with you, in whichever shape or form, whereever the road takes us!