Principal Priscilla Adams, 61, of Douglas Road Primary School in Wynberg had “mixed emotions” during the last few days before her retirement, a year after she was supposed to have retired.
However, they could not find a replacement for her so she had to stay on for another year.
While she was adjusting to the idea of her delayed retirement, she said, “Covid happened” and “this year was truly a year of reflection and appreciation”.
But the challenges of teaching did not blind Ms Adams to how the children “succeeded in life” as she had witnessed at a recent reunion of the class of 1997 and 1998.
“You look at these kids and you pray they will succeed. I have seen so many successful learners,” she said.
Ms Adams had been teaching for 41 years, her first three having been spent teaching at a school in Durban before she came to Douglas Road where she has been since. “There was a year gap where I taught at Littlewood Primary, in Mitchell’s Plain, but went back to Douglas Road.”
Ms Adams was appointed acting principal in 2013 when former principal Ruwaida Appleby passed away. “She was a big influence – a friend and a study buddy.”
In 2015 Ms Adams, who lives in Plumstead, was appointed principal.
She said she had often had to help pupils “overcome their challenges”.
“I would take a few kids who had low self-esteem, from a class of 40 learners, and gave them that extra bit of attention,” she explained.
She said those after school classes allowed them to come out of their shells until they were more confident to settle in.
Ms Adams said every day had new challenges but “you grow and you face the challenges”.
“You have to be creative and learn how to deal with kids and how to understand their development.
“All our teachers go beyond the call of duty and we care for them.”
Teacher Adiela Regaldien said: “For the short time that I have come to know Ms Adams as a principal, I came to realise that she is a remarkable person within her own right.
“She really manages the schooling in such a professional manner which both parents/teachers and learners can be very proud of. One thing that stands out for me is the way in which she engages the learners with the utmost respect.
“Finally I would like to comment on behalf of all our staff that we commend her for her excellent leadership which she portrayed over the years at Douglas Road. We will surely miss her.”
Ms Regaliden added: “Having someone like Ms Adams has been no less than a gift. Hope she has a wonderful retirement.”
Ms Adams said she had been “blessed” to have taught for 41 years and she thanked her two daughters Kim and Kelly, for being very supportive while she was a teacher.
She will spend time with her mom Maureen Johnson and her grandchildren Kayla, Giuliana and Sienna.
Asked if travelling was on the cards, she said “I will see where the wind takes me.”