41 years at Dryden

2017-09-05 06:01
Dryden Street Primary School principal Bayar Laattoe (right) with Eugenia Mzukwa, surrounded by learners as he bids the school farewell.

Dryden Street Primary School principal Bayar Laattoe (right) with Eugenia Mzukwa, surrounded by learners as he bids the school farewell.

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Dryden Street Primary School’s principal is retiring after 41 years at the school.

Bayar Laattoe started at the school as a junior staff member in 1976. He became principal in 1993.

He says though he is retiring he will remain a teacher at heart and continue to play a role in improving the quality of education at Dryden and surrounding schools. He says working at a school and interacting with children give him purpose in life.

He says, having started teaching under the apartheid government, he had always dreamt of providing less privileged children with better education, and he was among the first principals to allow a multiracial student body.

He is proud of how the school has grown and been able to maintain its enrolment since 1994. He says the school has had an average of between 500 and 600 learners over the years.

“Interacting with children in and outside the classroom and watching them on the playground is very dear to me. I enjoy working with under-14-year-old children the most. I find them more interesting,” he says.

“My experience has been a wonderful bag of memories, both pleasant and unpleasant. At the moment I do not know how I feel about retiring, it has not yet sunk in because I will still be involved with the school for a while.”

He is grateful for everyone who made his experience as a teacher memorable. He says the staff of the school have always been supportive of him and dedicated to their work.

Laattoe advises those who would like to become teachers to be ready to abide by the work ethic and serve in the public sector.

“Public sector schools need more teachers so the poor communities can access good service and be given as good an education as those in model C schools. You must love what you do and care about the children and also be politically inclined,” says Laattoe.

When Laattoe is not busy with his principal duties he dedicates time to coaching a junior soccer team. He says he also enjoys swimming in summer and quality time with family.

One of the teachers, Soraya Khan, says his departure will leave a huge void at the school because he has played a big role in shaping the school and has been dedicated to everything he was involved in.

“He will be dearly missed for all the good thing he has done for the school,” says Khan.

A member of the school governing body, Colin Jooste, says the community appreciates the role played by Laattoe at the school.


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