Veteran teacher and principal Charles Jansen said farewell to staff and pupils at Thomas Wildschutt Senior Primary School, in Retreat, when the school term ended last month.
Mr Jansen, 59, a Grassy Park resident, had been in the teaching profession for 41 years, and nearly 20 of those years were spent at Thomas Wildschutt Senior Primary.
He had taught at Protea Primary and Arcadia High in Bonteheuwel, moved to Fairmount High School in 1988 and was appointed principal at Thomas Wildschutt Senior in 1998.
Asked about his decision to retire, Mr Jansen said the time had come for him to step down.
“There’s a time when you feel that you need to go and after a discussion with my family, I felt that this is the time. I feel that there are people who are a bit more capable than me in this era who can take over the reins. I still want to be involved in education somehow. I love children and interacting with them and I am a advocate for the importance of education and success of our children,” said Mr Jansen.
He said he would miss the children most. “As a teacher one is expected to teach the children but I can honestly say that I have learned so much from them as well over the years so I will miss that interaction,” he said.
He implored the community to look after, not only Thomas Wildschutt, but all the schools in their area.
“Schools are places of learning and our community allows for break-ins and other bad things to happen to schools. I ask the community to please keep our schools safe from those who want to damage our institutions of learning,” said Mr Jansen.
His hopes for the school include that it is rebuilt as it is still a prefab building. He also wishes former and current pupils success.
“That is my biggest wish, that we as teachers be able to give pupils a better chance to become successful. I love it when pupils prosper. I wish all my pupils success and although I am going to miss them and I am very sad to leave, I know they’ll make me proud,” said Mr Jansen.
Former pupil Raeesha Daniels, who is now in Grade 8 at Heathfield High School, said Mr Jansen was unlike any other teacher.
“He is an awesome teacher and he’s like family to us. We learnt so much about love, compassion and respect for others and I will hold on to that and follow what he’s taught us for the rest of my life,” she said.
Administrator Evelyn Daniel, who has known Mr Jansen for more than a decade, said Mr Jansen would be sorely missed.
“He is generous, kind and fair. Everyone has learned a lot from him over the years. My wish for him is to succeed in everything he does from this point on,” said Ms Daniels.
Mr Jansen thanked his wife Estelle and daughters, Jamie-lee and Melissa, for their support over the years. “The school was my first priority but now I am able to give all my attention to my family, especially my wife,” said Mr Jansen.