Linda Pines, Afrikaans teacher and Grade Coordinator, Kingsmead College, Melrose, Johannesburg

| September 24, 2010

Meet the Reader


What’s your personal background in education?

I attended a small (70 pupils!) Afrikaans farm school, Bospoortse Laerskool. I completed my schooling at Potchefstroom Girls’ High School and then studied at Rhodes University, where I majored in English and Afrikaans Nederlands.

Who were the teachers who inspired you at school?

My primary school Headmaster, Mr Badenhorst, could really multitask, and I admired that quality. He taught standards 3, 4 and 5 in one class, was our sports
coach, and still had time to prepare me for an English high school! He cemented a rock-solid value system in all his pupils.

Why did you become a teacher?

I am a ‘people person’. I like children and preferred to be involved in a creative environment.

For how long have you taught at Kingsmead College?

I took up my post in January 1988.

What do you teach?

I teach Afrikaans. I’m also a Grade Coordinator, which involves a lot of pastoral care for a particular grade, as well as a great deal of administrative work to make sure that all the necessary records are maintained for each pupil.

What are some of the changes that have taken place at Kingsmead since you arrived?

I have worked under three different Heads, and our buildings and facilities have developed in leaps and bounds. Technology has also changed our lives – no more dreaded handwritten reports! We moved from a Nationalist government to an ANC-led government, which changed attitudes and the curriculum.

What amusing anecdote stands out in your mind?

I am always tickled pink by misguided dictionary usage of my pupils. At Kingsmead, we shower in a ‘reënbui’, have a ‘dadel’ as a date, and when something is over it is ‘boulbeurt’! Describe a typical day at school for you. I am at school by 07:00 and usually leave between 14:30 and 15:00. I spend at least an hour or two a day on grade coordination matters and about four hours a day in the classroom. The rest of my time is spent on preparation and marking. Of course, there are always after-school meetings and functions to attend as well.

What’s special about your school?

I love the warm and caring environment and that is why grade coordination is so dear to my heart. Kingsmead is also special because it gives people a chance –
everyone can find a niche, and staff and girls alike can grow. People are passionate about their jobs and we work in a professional and stimulating environment.

What’s the best thing about your classroom?

It is bright and cheerful and hopefully a happy place. I would like to think that the girls look upon it as a ‘safe haven’ and a place of stimulation and passion.

Any ‘lightbulb’ moments you can share?

Because we do not have an entrance examination, we educate girls of vastly differing abilities. We have nurtured pupils facing great academic challenges, and it is so satisfying when a girl not only passes but does really well in matric and her chosen career. There have been many of these stories over the years.

What advice can you give to other teachers?

Be passionate about your work and look upon it as a vocation and not a job!

What would you do if you were Minister of Education for a day?

I would concentrate my efforts on the rural schools, where there are dire needs.

What else would you like to say?

In my 35 years of teaching, I have never once regretted my choice of profession and I feel privileged to have experienced this sense of fulfilment.

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Category: Meet the Reader, Spring 2010 Edition

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