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.