reviewing 2020

BY Mrs K Stear

This has certainly not been the year we expected or planned for; and yet we have endured the year with remarkable resilience and competence. This was achieved through wonderful superhuman efforts. The  efforts of learners was evident as they learnt self-control and independence and they sought ways to keep up with their work. There was the efforts of parents who supported their daughters and monitored their progress. There was the remarkable budgeting and foresight of the SGB who managed the practical aspects of our Covid-19 responses. There was the extra-ordinary efforts the teachers put in to assist home-schoolers, adapt the curriculum and assessments and teach in the platooning system in a whole different way.
It might seem as if this was a horrible and disastrous year, and in many ways it was, but we can find much to be thankful for in this year as we were afforded the opportunities to grow in ways we could not have expected possible and to develop a keen sense of appreciation for the things that really matter: love, good health, security and the values of digging deep to get the job done and reaching out to others in need.
I doubt that education will ever be the same again. Teachers and learners have experienced new ways of doing things, out of necessity, and much of these lessons will infuse how we approach work in the future.  Out of the lack of extra-murals, it is hoped that learners will wholeheartedly take on extra murals when it is again possible. 
As the year draws to a close and we wrap up the school year, I find it hard to believe that we have lived with the new normal for so long.  I  cannot even begin to explain how complex this year has been from a management perspective and I marvel at the ingenuity and innovation we introduced in our approaches.  Countless duty lists, timetables, revisions of procedures later; I can say that the staff are tired.  They are tired in the way one is when you have given your all and then some more.  They are tired because there has been so much criticism with every move analysed and negatively picked apart by some. They are tired because of the precautions they have had to take and alertness they had to maintain to keep the precious girls of Riebeek safe.  They are tired because teaching is, in essence, a thankless job and the time of entitlement has only exacerbated the  lack of understanding of just how much a teacher gives.
From a financial perspective, this has been an expensive year and we will feel the effects of the drain on our income and the increase in our expenditures for a long time.  Future projects are on hold and we are keeping tight reins on the budget. 
This has also been a difficult year internationally as the world grapples with many issues. This has spilled into our learners’ lives in terms of frustration they feel and anger experienced.  The school finds itself being held accountable for the inadequacies in our societies.  It breaks our hearts to see the challenges our Riebeek families endure and we want to  provide pastoral care and love while still having the security of knowing that there is a team spirit among us. 
In spite of all the challenges, though, it is clear that every cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining of this year has been that we have found that we are stronger together, that we can endure hardship with grace and dignity and that it is our attitude that ultimately determines how we respond to and cope with situations. 
It is remarkable that in this difficult year we are able to present you with a school magazine that is as jam packed as in a normal year, albeit in some cases because of virtual events. Though much was different this year, there is still much to report on and for it to be part of our archives as a record of a year like no other, a year in which we continued to love, grow and learn, a year in which we continued to believe that, in spite of everything, the world really is a wonderful place made better by the wonderful souls and hearts of our Riebeek Family. 
Rachel Carson wrote "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy, who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from sources of our strength

 December 22, 2020
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Mrs K Stear

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