Heather Secondary deputy head ‘never missed a day in 41 years’

2011-07-27 00:00

ARUMUGAM Naicker, deputy principal at Heather Secondary in Northdale, retires from the teaching profession with a sense of great pride and satisfaction after 41 years of unbroken service.

“Not to blow my own trumpet, but I feel like I have served my duty,” he said. “I did my job with passion and dedication. I did not take sick leave. I did not miss one day of school in those 41 years. I really loved my job.”

Naicker’s first appointment was at a junior school in Tongaat. Enthusiastic in teaching music there, he trained other teachers in the area to teach music.

“It was like going full circle because here I was as a young educator teaching one of my teachers,” he said.

Naicker (63) is originally from Port Shepstone, but he made his way to Pietermaritzburg in 1974 to teach at Raisethorpe Secondary, where he spent 12 years.

Like the true visionary that he is, he made his mark. As a result of deliberating with teachers in what was then known as Model C schools, he was able to introduce music as an examination subject for matriculants at Raisethorpe Secondary. He believes that this initiative indirectly led to music being introduced in other schools in the area.

Naicker moved to Northbury Park Secondary in 1987 and then to Heather Secondary, where he has spent 11 of his 20 years as deputy principal.

“There is nothing more rewarding than going to a police station, a bank or a doctor’s surgery and coming across someone you’ve taught running to you to tell what they’ve become,” he said.

Naicker believes that this is because he was the sort of teacher to hold pupils by the “scruff of the neck and made sure they passed matric”.

Having taught different generations and lived through many curriculum overhauls, Naicker believes education has changed drastically. He feels not enough emphasis is put on teaching today and laments the removal of counsellors who taught discipline and emotional education so as to groom a whole pupil.

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