Staff at Plumstead High School were moved by the act of kindness shown by the learners along with the school governing body and parents on Wednesday 12 December.
The three bodies collaboratively organised a surprise teachers’ appreciation event to thank the teachers for the “good” job they did throughout the year.
Learners say when the idea was run by them by one of the parents, they were keen to execute. They shared it with the rest of the school, “obviously” keeping it a secret from the rest of the staff. The school has 52 teachers and all were recognised equally. The learners performed some entertainment acts to make the day special and small gifts were handed over to the teachers. The learners also created placards carrying different messages of appreciation.
Hurriah Lakota, a learner, said they are glad the teachers liked the surprise and thanked everyone who made it possible.
One of the organising parents, Verline Leo, said that as parents they understand the challenges and responsibilities teachers carry and they realised they often go unrecognised, so they decided to host something small to make the teachers feel appreciated.
Leo said that although they would have loved to do more, they had no budget and had to rely on donations.
She said they hope that thanking the teachers will become the norm, not just in one school but across the country.
SGB member Nisaa Daniels said this was an attempt to revive the school after “so much that has been happening”.
She said the school almost received bad publicity as negative comments were made publicly on social media about the school.
“They (teachers) deal with so much that sometimes they would not even want to come to school. You can tell that they sometimes think they do not even matter and today we want them to know that they do matter. We see and respect the job they do,” said Daniels.
One of the teachers, Pam Bernado, who has been at the school for nine years, said this year was the toughest year for teachers. She confirmed that there had been conflicts with a few parents who “would attack teachers when called to school because of a learner’s behaviour”.
“We have been harshly criticised and have been shocked at the reaction by some parents. Thinking about that makes the event particularly moving, I was very moved and got emotional at the beginning.”
Craig George, the school principal, thanked everyone who made the celebration possible and said that indeed, teachers play a vital role in the lives of the learners, and encouraged them to never be discouraged by the circumstances that come along the way.
“I would like to remind them they chose the noblest career and they must never regret or forget that.”