Wynberg resident Najermoenisa Mohamed de Kock turned 60 this month and after teaching at Battswood Primary School, in Ottery, for 26 years, has decided to put down her chalk and retire at the end of this term.
However, Ms De Kock, plans to continue being active in the education sector.
Ms De Kock’s teaching career started 34 years ago when she did a two-year teaching certificate course at Roggebaai College. Her first teaching post was at Glendale High in Mitchell’s Plain where she taught for seven years before she did her High Diploma in Education at Hewat Teacher Training College in 1994 and 1995.
“I was pregnant with my son, Mishi-aal when my eldest daughter Tugfah van Graan, was five years old,” she told Southern Mail.
The following year, 1996, she started teaching at Battswood.
But, determined to keep improving her qualifications, a few years later she hit the books again.
“In 2013, when I was 53, I did my Honours through North West University and passed with flying colours. I graduated in 2015,” she said.
Her achievement set an example, she said, “for my own children and the learners that you are never too old to learn”.
“Once you have that degree no one can take it away from you,” she said.
Ms de Kock said after seven years at Battswood, she had been given a senior teaching position and when Covid changed how schools had to operate, her duties included managing the team who screened pupils before they entered the school premies.
“I was put in charge of the six teaching assistants and general assistants and I made sure they did the temperature screenings etc.”
She also recalled how, over the years, she and her colleagues had had to adapt to changes brought about by the introduction of Outcomes Base Education (OBE) and the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).
However, she said, the biggest challenge for her had been to teach Afrikaans to the 75% of the pupils at Battswood whose home language is Xhosa.
“Fortunately the children have been doing well in Afrikaans.”
Ms De Kock, said she is looking forward to her retirement. “It came at the right time as my son’s wife will be giving birth to twins in December.”
As she leaves a legacy to “always work hard”, her advice to teachers is: “ Live by the saying ‘ work hard and smart ’. You have to be on your toes and you have to inform the children about what life would be like after they leave school and that they are our future leaders.”
Ms De Kock added: “I would like to go on Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), which I planned after retirement, but then Covid happened. But my intention is still to go on Hajj, after Covid.”
She said with protocol adhered to she would be saying farewell to her colleagues on July 7.