More than a job

2010-06-30 00:00

A BURNING desire to work with children is what caused Margie Odell to abandon nursing in pursuit of a teaching career.

Today after 33 years of teaching and working with an estimated 18 000 children, she believes her career has been more than a job. It has been a life calling which she is not quite ready to turn her back on even though she is retiring.

Odell bows out of the profession at the age of 65 after 17 years as the commander in chief at Ridge Junior Primary. While sad, she leaves with a great sense of satisfaction.

“It’s been wonderful working with the children and making a difference in their lives. I think I would have hated to work in England where I could not touch or hug the children. They are spontaneous, loving and so naughty. But they are so responsive to love. They say the funniest things and sometimes you have to turn away to hide a smile.”

On the whole, Odell believes her relationship with parents has been wonderful. She has also loved working with her staff.

“I have felt intense warmth which I have received wherever I have taught. That is what I will take with me.”

Odell began her career in 1967 at Pelham. In 1968 she moved to Krans­kop where she spent a year before taking a break after the birth of her son. Three more sons followed before she went back to teaching in 1978.

Upon her return, Odell spent 15 years at Richmond Primary School. She started off as a junior primary teacher but left in 1993 as the head of department.

From there, she moved to Ridge to take on a position as deputy principal. The next year, she was appointed as the principal. Odell said she chose the primary level route since she believes it is of vital importance to develop the root system at this age for pupils to do well at higher levels of education.

Living in a technological age, she regards the biggest challenge facing teachers today to be the fact that children find it difficult to listen.

Odell also laments the poor training teachers now receive and described the closure of teaching colleges as “a crying shame”.

“I think the practicality of teaching has been lost and students are spending too little time in classrooms with the children. I think they need to spend more time in classrooms working with experienced teachers who can act as good role models. That will help bring passion back.”

She hopes to leave behind a legacy of good relationships, enthusiasm and determination, and a culture of treating every child as an individual, and of developing each child’s gifts.

Having had the privilege of teaching all four of her sons, Odell leaves two of her grandchildren at Ridge after spending the past five years as their principal.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.