On a mission of excellence Out of the principal’s office Ivan Stevens

2016-06-29 06:00
IVAN STEVENS Sketch: Marlene de Beer

IVAN STEVENS Sketch: Marlene de Beer

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IVAN STEVENS, principal of Louis Botha THS (Technical High School) in Bloemfontein, is on a mission to transform the school into a model of innovation and technology. He was appointed principal in May after acting in the position from January this year.

Stevens has the necessary teaching qualifications, as well as 27 years of teaching experience. He is the first principal at Louis Botha with a technical background.

“Years of teaching experience in the field of Electrical Technology will enable me to make this the best technical school in the country. I have a passion for technical development, specifically at our school, and it will be my privilege to take this school to another level. I am not satisfied to just maintain a good reputation for the school. Good is the enemy of great. Together, the staff and I are going to change the good to an extraordinary institution,” said Stevens.

Stevens said he was excited about his appointment to an institution with a strong technology background.

“Since I have a technical background, the new technical courses and the enhancing of our established technical courses excite me immeasurably. Louis Botha is one of two schools focusing on technical training in the Free State.

“I believe that the years’ experience working with learners using a holistic approach will see me through. I have a good sense of humour, which is a necessity when working with people. I did my degree in Psychology, so I believe I am equipped to handle my staff members, as well as the learners, with the necessary respect and empathy,” he said.

The school is diverse, with learners and teachers from different races. When asked about this setup, Stevens said his qualification in psychology would come in handy too.

“I don’t see colour. All the learners in our school will get an equal opportunity to excel and develop their God-given talents. I strive to acknowledge the different cultures, languages, personalities and backgrounds of all my learners and staff members. I prefer to listen to people and calm them down when emotions get out of hand. It is very important to make space for everyone to feel comfortable and safe. I want to create a warm, friendly and comforting environment where learners can excel in academics, sport and culture,” said Stevens.

He maintains that an ideal school environment would be one of the important elements.

“The ideal school environment is one where teaching and learning can thrive. Given the diversity at THS, we must be accommodating to achieve this. Therefore, we must create a safe, friendly and supportive environment where learners can excel, free from discrimination or prejudice.

“My biggest challenge is to negate the negative influence of eight night clubs operating in close vicinity to the school. This will require support from local government, the police and the community at large,” Stevens emphasised.

When asked about his philosophy regarding education and its value, Stevens said: “I am a quiet person, a thinker, so I set ample time aside to reflect about what I really want to achieve. We aim to turn learners into adults, with the necessary life skills to make a difference in society.”

Stevens believes his open door policy will stand him in good stead. “I have an open door policy. I give everyone the opportunity to speak their mind. I am open to suggestions and strive for consensus without jeopardising principles.”

Stevens says it is not only qualifications that inspire him.

“I take inspiration from every small success when learners with problems are helped in line with the norms and values which I teach. My mission is to put in place the basics of discipline, good manners, citizenship, integrity and respect,” he said.

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