City teacher scoops life­time award


Danie van der Lith THE OVERALL win­ner at this week’s Provin­cial Teach­ing Awards be­lieves ev­ery child holds im­mense po­ten­tial and that it is up to teach­ers to un­lock that po­ten­tial.

Kim­ber­ley res­i­dent Carolina Flem­ming was hon­oured with the Nel­son Man­dela Life­time Achieve­ment Award for her con­tri­bu­tion to ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion in the Province dur­ing Mon­day evening’s awards.

This ac­co­lade is awarded to teach­ers who have en­joyed a lengthy ca­reer of en­cour­ag­ing pupils to flour­ish while achiev­ing con­sis­tently high re­sults over many years, both in the class­room and amongst the com­mu­nity.

Flem­ming said yes­ter­day that her win was “very un­ex­pected”, adding that while it was not so much about win­ning, it felt good to be ac­knowl­edged for what she has done for pupils dur­ing her al­most 39 years of teach­ing in the North­ern Cape.

Flem­ming started her teach­ing ca­reer in 1979 at the Salomon Senekal High School in Viljoen­skroon, where she taught un­til 1981.

The fol­low­ing year, 1982, she joined the staff at HF Ver­wo­erd Pri­mary School in Kim­ber­ley (now Kevin Nkoane Pri­mary), mov­ing to her present school, El­iz­a­beth Con­radie (El­con), in 1998.

At El­con she taught the Grade 7 class un­til 2010, be­fore work­ing in the vo­ca­tional stream. From next year, she will take over as Head of Depart­ment for El­con’s in­ter­me­di­ary phase.

Flem­ming said yes­ter­day that teach­ing had al­ways been her pas­sion and call­ing.

“I only ever have one rule in class that is: treat oth­ers the way you want to be treated. That rule has al­ways worked re­ally well in a class­room en­vi­ron­ment,” Flem­ming said yes­ter­day.

“Teach­ing is not about the money, it is about what you mean to the chil­dren. How you can help them go from be­ing noth­ing to be­com­ing some­thing. As a teacher, you be­come the par­ents of your pupils be­cause they spend more time with you than with their own par­ents. Ev­ery child has some­thing to give and as a teacher you have to work at un­lock­ing that po­ten­tial. Know­ing each child’s in­di­vid­ual per­son­ally is key to un­lock­ing that po­ten­tial.”

Flem­ming added that she still be­lieved in house vis­its, as this helped to un­der­stand each child’s cir­cum­stances and back­ground.

“I once had a pupil who con­stantly fell asleep in class and he would get into trou­ble for do­ing so. It was only after I did a house visit, that I re­alised that this child’s bed was a kitchen ta­ble and he had to wait for the en­tire house­hold to go to sleep be­fore he could. When I al­lowed him to sleep for one hour in the morn­ings, his per­for­mance im­proved.”

Flem­ming added that if she had a chance to “do it all over again” she would not change one thing about her path as a teacher to date, adding that she held very dear mem­o­ries.

She also has no plans of re­tir­ing in the near fu­ture and wants to con­tinue teach­ing “for as long as pos­si­ble”.

She con­cluded by thank­ing her hus­band and fam­ily, es­pe­cially her sis­ter, for all their sup­port and en­cour­age­ment, say­ing that the award would not have been pos­si­ble with­out them, as they of­ten had to take a back seat to her pupils.

FROM LEFT: HOD for the depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion Tshepo Pha­rasi, win­ner of the Nel­son Man­dela Life Time Achieve­ment Award Carolina Flem­ming and MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion Martha Bartlett. Pic­ture:

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