Kraaifontein teachers chalk up awards

Henry Alexander.

There were gold stars aplenty for Kraaifontein teachers at a Western Cape Education Department awards ceremony on Friday November 4.

The department recognised teacher excellence in various categories, and a panel of retired school principals, teachers and district officials selected the cream of the crop from 161 nominations from schools throughout the province.

Teacher unions were also represented in adjudication panels.

The department said the awards acknowledged the “extraordinary efforts” of teachers who had excelled, often under difficult circumstances.

Kraaifontein teachers chalked up four of the top awards. Three teachers from Bernadino Heights High School in Scottsdene, Kraaifontein, were among the top achievers.

Henry Alexander scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr Alexander’s career in education spans more than 30 years, with his vision for the school to create “an oasis of hope in the community”.

He succeeded in doing this by transforming it into a 21st century institution with the latest technology, top-class sports facilities and cultural opportunities.

Portia Naidoo was awarded for Excellence in Teaching Physical Science.

Described as passionate and dedicated, she has been teaching since 1992 and was praised for being a positive role model.

Meanwhile, the award for Excellence in Mathematics went to Stephen Adams who was described as “inspirational”.

He uses games to make the often intimidating subject accessible and starts his lessons with the mantra “Maths is fun.”

Marika Smit, from Bottelary Primary School in Kraaifontein, scooped the award for Excellence in Primary School Teaching.

She has been a teacher for just four years, three of them at Bottelary. After seeing her sister struggling to learn and feeling dissatisfied with the way teachers taught her, Ms Smit was inspired to teach children who have learning problems with patience and respect.