Read these inspiring reflections from our teaching staff: the impact of COVID-19 on their roles …
Marie-Louise Raymond, Head of School
“At the beginning of 2020 I asked the staff to fill in a form that asked ‘My one word for 2020 is: ….?’ My word for 2020 was: “GRIT”! Covid-19 has tested the grit of our staff. Usually each year of a teaching career becomes easier as you grow as an expert in your field. Covid-19 made all teachers, beginners. We had to reinvent our usual way of teaching and planning. The grit the staff showed in this new and ever-changing time was inspiring.
Right now, our only consistent feeling is that change is inevitable. I am an avid planner and usually have several boxes to tick. Covid forced me to readjust the boxes and ensure that planning is done in even more depth and detail, but at the same time remain agile and responsive to dynamic circumstances beyond our control. As Head of School, I constantly had to apologise to staff in advance for changes that could happen, despite our best-laid plans.
Covid broke down a lot of barriers and suddenly, we are all on a blank canvas. The communication groups and all the contact with the parents during lockdown made them more open and honest about their economic and social problems. Trust was built between staff and parents and we are grateful for this opportunity to understand and to help them better.
The positivity and ‘go-getting’ attitude of the staff was inspiring. They took on the changes and challenges and were ready to teach in a time that a lot of teachers were not willing to teach. They prepared their hearts and emotions and became a tribe of Covid-fighting teachers whose main goal was to ensure that our children are happy, safe and educated. We decided our new teacher group name is Advocates of Hope. We don’t have all the answers, we don’t know what is best, but daily the teachers stand in front of classes and inspire children, families and the community.”
Lindie Du Preez – Grade 0
“The 5 year olds are back at school twice a week. Routine and structure are so important at this age. Initially, the kids felt afraid of Corona and clearly needed emotional support. We remind them that their teacher and everyone at The Kusasa Project are helping to keep them safe and healthy. We focus a lot on prevention and they now know that the Corona germs are very afraid of masks and sanitizing!”
Karen Viljoen – Grade R
“It is a very challenging experience, leaving us with fear and stress. We were constantly wondering and making plans on how to support our learners – emotionally and academically. I am grateful that I can see them even if it is just twice a week. My kids stay in my thoughts. I want them to feel safe and loved and to be taken care of.”
Emma Smit – Grade 2
“The grade 2 learners and I are like a little family. We laugh, play and are silly together. A teacher can’t teach without her kids. Yes, it’s a tough year and it has brought many challenges, but challenges make us grow. This has been such an enriching experience forcing us to think differently, to adapt and to reach our learners in new ways. My ‘teacher heart’ is full again. Nothing brings more joy then being back together.”
Ilze Lourens – Grade 3
“Being back with the children at the Early Learning Centre feels like finding my purpose all over again. Seeing my kids every day brings me so much joy! The children are amazing! In this time I learned from them that even though we’re going through a difficult period wherein things are different (teaching with a mask on…), we can still be silly and have fun while learning about the world around us!”
Carina van der Linde – Grade 4
“Returning to school after the strict lockdown was quite daunting. Although I knew that everything possible was done to ensure our safety, life/school – as we know it – was not going to be the same. Luckily any scary thoughts disappeared when I saw my kids. Despite the fact that things have changed, we can still learn, laugh and support each other. I would like to salute each teacher, child and parent at The Kusasa Project. Well done on doing an amazing job!”