From the Editor
When I was in Standard 4 (the equivalent of Grade 6) at Muir College in Uitenahge, we had a new English teacher arrive in May. He was actually high-school trained, and set us a stinker of an exam paper. I can still remember one of the questions: Choose the correct word from the pair in brackets in the following: One of the apples (is/are) bad. I wrote are. When I discussed the exam paper with my father afterwards, he said: ‘No, it’s is; one is, not one are.’ I decided there and then that I was going to master the English language rather than allowing it to master me – and I decided (having chosen to be a teacher in my first year of school) to major in English. Mr Frankie Esselaar went on to inspire me for the rest of the year – and then he moved to the high school, where he continued his good work in Standard 8 (Grade 10).
I was most fortunate then to have Mrs Iris Dugmore in Standard 5 – someone who conveyed such a love for the subject and teaching it. Funnily enough, after she had retired, she came also back for a year – my Std 7 year. (Interestingly enough, her husband had taught my father English at Muir – and my father always said that this man developed in him a love of English.)
These wonderful people, along with others – Mrs Rhona Ashmead and Mr Cecil Clement – are examples of what teachers ought to be. They did nothing special in terms of methods – no group work, audio-visual aids – they just showed me that they loved what they were doing.
I was then fortunate to go on to Rhodes, where I had a series of wonderful lecturers – including the iconic Professor Guy Butler and the innovative Professor William Branford (who introduced me to Linguistics).
The result was that I went on not only to teach English but to continue studying it to doctorate level.
Having retired from the profession, I can say that these teachers gave me the chance to have one of the most fulfilling careers that anyone could hope for.
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