Floreat teachers call it a day

Charmaine Southgate is retiring after 39 years in teaching.

Three teachers at Floreat Primary School with a combined total of 120 years of experience will be retiring at the end of the term.

Charmiane Southgate, 64, Joanne de Swart, 59, and Gwendoline James, 64 have dedicated most of their lives to education but have decided to leave to enjoy their retirement.

Ms Southgate, from Steenberg, has been teaching at Floreat Primary School for 39 years but admitted that she is looking forward to her retirement.

“I never wanted to leave Floreat because I loved the atmosphere, the children and the vibe of the school and there was nowhere else I would have rather spent my 39 years.

“But now I want to relax and travel and I don’t want to even think about teaching because I think I’ve done my part. I am looking forward to my time off to do the things that I want to do and when I want to do it,” said Ms Southgate.

“Floreat has always done well in all spheres and my hope is that the parents, pupils and staff continue to do so and build on the good things that have been laid as a foundation,” she said.

Ms De Swardt, from Steenberg, has been in teaching for 39 years. She started out at Marine Primary in Ocean View, taught at Sullivan Primary for six years and was then transferred to Floreat Primary School.

“I’ve always loved working with children and I have a passion for teaching because children are so lovable and eager to learn but now it’s time that we as the older stock hand over to the newer generation. Our bodies have grown tired and we get aches and pains and that is why I decided that it’s time to go,” she said.

Ms De Swardt said she will miss the school but is also looking forward to her retirement.

“I want to travel, relax and most importantly, spend more time with my family.”

Ms James, from Retreat, has been in teaching for 42 years and said discipline has been at the heart of her teaching career.

“I have a passion for teaching and children. Respect and discipline has always been at the core of my teaching. I will truly miss it and my children because at Floreat we are a family, a team, but it is time for me to go so that I can spend time with my husband and travel,” she said.

Ms James wished the school well: “My hope for the school is that Floreat flourishes and grows from strength to strength.”

Principal Noel Isaacs said the retirements will leave a massive hole at the school but commended the three teachers for the roles they played at the school.

“They are brilliant teachers. Ms De Swardt was head of the foundation phase and we will miss her for her leadership and caring nature. We’ll miss Ms James’ passionate, dedication and commitment and Ms Southgate is a brilliant teacher who always went above and beyond for the children.

“Their years of experience cannot be replaced but we thank them for all they’ve done,” said Mr Isaacs.

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