After a very short holiday, we back at school. Our Grade 12 results increased dramatically in 2016, the challenge for 2017 is to sustain it or work harder to improve on it. Every year we faced with more demands, more strife, unhappiness, luckily we still have a school to got to, others in our vicinity is not that lucky. Our neighbouring school, Beauvallon Secondary, is facing immense pressure from the outside to collapse, with their learner role falling dramatically and less than ten teachers, our prayers are with them. A few kilometres away more high schools, Uitzig, St Andrews are also undergoing major turmoil. The poorest communities seem to always have issues in with their school.

At Bishop Lavis High, we have an influx of new Grade 8 learners from outside our feeder area, these large numbers are buckling the infrastructure of the school, I doubt whether the ablution facilities will be able to cope with this, as I believe the school was designed to house eight hundred learners, we now have 1400. With this, the normal run of the mill disciplinary issues is multiplied. Classes are filled to capacity, the government teacher-learner ratio of 1:35 is long forgotten. The average size of the grade eight classes is 55 learners. The teachers loads of many of our teachers are 100%, not one free period for a breather, for some preparation. This I believe is unhealthy, we are soon going to have total burnout, sky-rocketing stress related issues and major repercussions because of the low morale of our staff.

This year I will be teaching Computer Applications Technology Grade 12, after a hiatus of many years, in conjunction with English First Additional Language Grade 11’s. I have tried staying away from the Grade 12’s for many years, as I dislike the interaction with Curriculum Advisors from the Department, who come to schools like ours as superior beings, forgetting that not too long ago, they were in the same boat as we are. Instead of coming with support, I believe they just come to criticise and belittle, us minions, there are some ugly reports of how these CA’s embarrass, shout, and destroy teachers at their workshops. Really, this should not be tolerated, perhaps I should create a platform where teachers can air their grievances, the actions of some CA’s reminds us of the dark days of the all omniscient inspectors of the old Apartheid days.

As an advisor, I would expect the incumbent to be well versed in their area of expertise, help teachers with guidance, supply them with example schedules, work plans, lessons so that especially the new teachers can know what exactly is expected. Imagine the CA doing this, coming to your school, and being able to check if you on par with what they have designed for you. Perhaps this will happen in the future, in essence, I believe that any CA worth his or her salt would go the extra mile in creating a subject pack for each of their schools, and ensure that it is being adhered to, then they will earn my respect. With today’s technology, you can make it easily available to download and administer. CA’s need some help, I can help you with this, drop me a line!

Every year our class teachers create address lists of the learners in their classes, and this is an endless problem, as more learners are added, others moved to other classes, any resemblance to an alphabetical order is soon lost. Depending on how soon we can get these lists, will determine how soon we can generate class lists for each grade, via our school administration software package – SA-SAMS. This year we embarked on a slightly different path, after creating a class list spreadsheet in Excel, we have tabs for Input, Control List, Class list, Address List, List of distributed textbooks and a register for the year. Essentially the class teacher completes the first capture sheet and everything else is generated for the teacher. They must just forward this to the grade head weekly. From this information, we can merge the data to our Word to create SA-SAMS info forms for the admin clerk to capture. This should work, BUT, like anything in life, there is always hiccups, weak links, and this breakdown the process. I’m always optimistic and I’m sure that everything will come together. If you are interested in using this, you can download it here.