Welcome back!

It’s the second week of school, and the first week of lessons here at M&R!
We are delighted to have you back at Hermanus Math and Reading centre and
hope your child will settle down happily and make good progress in 2019!

I have two stories to tell. Last week I enrolled a beautiful young lady who really made me think about perception and expectations.

My first story: Shanèa is a grade 11 learner and her goal for 2019 is to get 80% for Maths. When I asked her what she was prepared to do differently than last year, she replied that she is prepared to spend an extra 30 - 40 minutes/day doing math exercises at home. This is over and above homework or coming to M&R for tuition. (I think my mouth fell open and the inner child in me wanted to jump up and down) When I spoke to Mariaan Viljoen at the end of 2018, I asked her what we could do differently at M&R for the High School learners, she replied that learners must commit to spending 30 - 40 minutes per day doing Math exercises from their X-Factor books at home. PLUS, High School learners STILL do not know their timetables. They rely too much on using their calculators.

Let me tell you my second story about another student. Kayleigh contacted me during term four of 2018 and asked if I would be able to assist her with learning Korean. Having worked in South Korea myself and understanding the complexity of a language, not even to mention the writing thereof, I organised a Korean Tutor and we were both impressed by the level of Kayleigh. I thought she would be at a basic level, but she was so much more advanced. The best part is that she was so determined to learn that she taught herself to read and write Hangul by watching YouTube videos only, and her level was quite advanced when she started with language lessons at M&R! It just goes to show. “Waar daar ‘n wil is, is daar ‘n weg”

Bottom line is this: Maths, Reading, Languages, Science and academic success will always be about priorities, expectations and perception of time, how you manage it, or how it manages you. These two young ladies have prioritised maths and Korean and I promise you they will make a success because they are committed to doing so. (And I am going to be watching them and cheering them on)

So: We will be doing things differently this year. All High School learners will sign commitment contracts with us. In the contract they will commit to doing work at home. (No not homework, extra work because all learners want to succeed and do really well and we will be expecting them to do so in order for us to show results) To get back to perceptions and expectations. We will also be sending out a commitment and expectation letter to all parents to be signed by both parent and learner and returned to us before we start lessons this year. It takes a village to raise a child, and fortunately for you, we are part of that village.

Teachers at M&R will be facilitating the learning process. It is about being the change you wish to see in the world, and I am sure that all parents would like to see their children take responsibility for their own academic success. Just to clarify, I do not expect the grade one learners to sign academic success contracts, but I have seen that the parents who were committed to seeing learners complete a 10 minute frenzy a week, showed the results at the end of the year. And I know that homework is sometimes done enroute to M&R, but if we can cover the basics, the results will speak for itself.

If you enrolled your child at M&R, it means you have prioritised academic success, and I applaud you for it. But it does not stop there. We, as parents and educators, also have to change our language. Be positive about Maths, Reading, Spelling, Phonics and academics as a whole. Use words at home such as: I love reading … or I did my best at school when it comes to Mathematics. When telling your children how you hated school, Math, English or the teachers, you are creating your own worst nightmare.

NEVER tell your child you did not do well at school. Always be the change you would wish to see in them. Remember they are watching you closely, just as they are watching us. Let positive academic talk be your mentor this year. I promise you that this will add up. https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=22508&fbclid=IwAR1HiKvlKj_TljfLCm8Rnjo9i9Dd4yHmYEvXNq7PqNmZ3f96YU4ESz85RbY
A great article to read about parents and teachers and Math anxiety!

AND REMEMBER: We absolutely love promoting our parenting with Love & Logic course to all parents. It is a fantastic course that will help you enjoy parenting. (Sounds too good to be true? Come check it out!)



Thank you for choosing Hermanus Math and Reading Centre!


Growing teachers …

I suppose that all teachers aspire to allow themselves the occasional growth spurt every now and again. I felt incredibly proud to be a witness of such a ‘spurt’ one evening this week.

Educating can easily catapult into this process of tirelessly pouring out of oneself and getting very little in return. However, the key to allowing yourself to step into this process of educating where you discover that teaching also has the power to unlock certain magical moments where the input = the output, is to allow oneself the pleasure to also TAKE from the ones being educated. Yes! You read correctly … allow yourself to also be the receiver and not only the giver. You can actually master this process. Let me try to explain.

I have (in the past) been a victim of complaining about this soul-draining profession for some years. Feeling exhausted and incomplete after a day’s work. I suppose I am not the only one out there? Somebody give me an AMEN SISTA! I know that for the transformation to happen, you have to be willing to allow yourself to struggle through the frustration and experience, the pain of losing yourself in a profession that takes and takes and takes before you can stick your neck out and realise that you are the master of your own growth and that this process of sharing information is in an actual way a two way street … it totally depends on where you are, and how you perceive this highway of educating!

Right. So to get back to the formula. The turn of the key. The opening of the door. The equation that leads to success.

I witness fellow educators in our education centre on a daily basis. Their interaction, their souls, their love for a respective subject and also their fears, their glasses half empty and their hourly struggles to keep the boat a float. This blog is not about those moments. It is about an extraordinary moment where one of our teachers faced a fear and turned it into a scientific (quite literally) formula that produced extraordinary results! The result being an authentic smile, a tap on the back and feelings of accomplishment!

So one of our educators exclaimed that she had the opportunity to face a fear in one of her Science sessions, but instead of running away from the educational process of sharing the information and transforming it into knowledge, she shared the information, with hesitation, self-doubt and angst. In her own words … hating the explanation of particular field in Science and almost always refusing to tackle this issue head-on due to her own feelings of doubt, but then she decided NO, not today, today she will face her fears and she did exactly that. In a brave way … she struggled through the hogwash of her own fears and managed the process of explaining a concept to the learners, a concept she thought she could never explain effortlessly or with great success. Immediately she recognised the transformation in herself. Yes, she recognised her growth … and it was so magnificent that she even shared it with all of us. Eyes beaming with pride and accomplishment and feelings of relief. A proud moment witnessed. Success.

She truly inspired me to realise that even in those moments of I will try again tomorrow, she turned the tomorrow into today. I promised her a blog, to write about this. Her own words: “I will change the world, one learner at a time” reminded me of my early days in education, standing in front of five hundred first-years, quite optimistic about my new educational endeavour, and with high hopes for each student. (But also very young, naive and inexperienced at the time) After class, I crawled back to my bachelors flat in Linden, ears to the ground, crying myself to sleep. They ate me for breakfast. Literally. All I wanted to do was to deposit my skills and knowledge and experience to a group of first year media students. I wanted to share. I wanted to inspire. I wanted to bring hope. I could barely keep the class under control. They were not interested in me. Not at all. So I had to go back to the drawing board, change my attitude, dig deep and if I remember correctly, I even changed my dress code. Day two. Still five hundred first-years, still the shaking and trembling in my voice. I knew I had to win only two students. They ruled the classroom. I sent a quick glare towards them, walked over and stood right next to them, and then smiled. The bravest, biggest, whitest smile you have ever seen. They both looked up at me in disbelief. I said RIGHT! Let’s go. Still smiling. Still standing my ground. Still facing my two challengers. I asked them questions, I challenged back. I conquered. Today, I follow these students on Instagram. Very successful, high flying media experts in big corporate companies in Sandton. I am proud. Not of me, but of them. Of who they have become. I might have only influenced two students in a class of five hundred. But the challenge was to change myself. To dig deep and to find a way to connect. And that my friends, is the essence of teaching. Connection. Without it, teaching is futile. And to be quite honest. You have to be able to connect with yourself first. Thank you to Charlotte for the inspiration to write this post. I like your style. It adds up!

So for today, my challenge and personal motto is: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD” Ghandi

I am off to help facilitate parenting with Love & Logic (I will write about this soon)

Have a fabulous Friday!