After 48 years in the profession, Grassy Park teacher Eleanor Adams closed the book on her teaching career at Perivale Primary School, in Lotus River, at the end of last term.
Ms Adams, who will be 71 years old on Thursday April 7, said teaching was her passion and that she had had a good 48 years, filled with challenges and rewards. She plans to take it slow during her retirement, but will make herself available to assist the school if principal Denzil van Graan needs her to.
In 1963 she started her teaching career at Steenberg Primary and in 1972, when she was just 17 years old. She later moved to Perivale Primary, closer to her home.
She got married to her husband Daniel in 1967, had two children – Ryan and Cleo – who each gave her three grandchildren.
Ms Adams said teaching runs in the family.
“My dad the late Nicholas Adams was a teacher, (as were) my two sisters and I as well as my daughter Cleo. I also had the privilege to teach with Cleo at Perivale Primary where she is currently teaching.”
Ms Adams said that after she completed standard eight (now Grade 10), at Wittebome High School, in Wynberg she went to college to study teaching. “However, I felt there was something missing because I didn’t have matric. I finally got my matric certificate when I was 40,” she said.
It took her two years to complete all her subjects, but she made it. “I even matriculated during the same year as my son Ryan,” she smiled.
She said, she has taught many grades, starting with Grade 1, and worked with a few principals.
Commenting on the changes she has experienced over the years, she said in years gone by, children showed more respect for teachers. “Perivale Primary taught children from the Ottery flats, which was very challenging. We had to handle the children with care, when they came to school on Mondays. When there had been shooting during weekends, they would come to school wired and abusive. However, I will miss the children – especially the naughty ones.”
While she felt she could go on teaching for many more years, Ms Adams said her body had warned her to slow down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I had a shock of my life in 2011, but kept on being positive.”
She commended the staff of Perivale and Mr Van Graan who “stood by me throughout chemotherapy and visits to the doctors. “I had a mastectomy and I’ve been on medication for the past five years.
”I have been taking it one day at a time.”
Asked what she planned to do with her retirement Ms Adams said she was a homebody and she would rather spend her retirement with her children and grandsons, than travel overseas.
Ms Adams is also an avid reader. “I can’t go to bed without my book and also without filling in my crossword puzzle.”
Mr Van Graan said Ms Adams will be remembered for her dedication and loyalty to the teaching profession.
“Ms Adams was a dependable and reliable teacher who demanded the best from her pupils. She was the perfect professional and had the admiration and respect of the different generations of pupils whose parents and grandparents she taught.
“She will be surely missed. However the school community wishes her well in her retirement and that she may enjoy quality time with her family and loved ones.”