Many people ask me why I started EduExcellence. Well this is a very personal part of the story. Not a lot of people know that I really struggled at school. And when I say really struggled, I mean REALLY STRUGGLED! It was very clear to me from my very first day in Grade 1 that this is going to be an uphill battle. I received additional classes in Languages and Mathematics. Spelling was and still is a disaster. In short, the 12 years I spent in school was probably the worst time of my life. Feedback from teachers were very negative, to the point where I was told that I am only good enough to get married and have children.
What the teachers did not know was that I love challenges, so I set out to proof them wrong. I knew that I was not as stupid as I was made out to be, I just did not do things the way they wanted me to do it. I was a very active child and did not like to sit still. I read my first book in my first year at University. Sometimes we just need a little bit extra time to “get it”.Strange thing was, after I tasted some success, things just opened up and I found that I loved reading and studying, to the point where I studied and obtained four degrees. I realized that I have a lot to offer, most of which is the understanding of what it feels like sitting in a classroom not knowing why all the other children are “getting it” and wondering what is wrong with me. I KNOW what it feels like. I also know that it does not have to be like that. School can be a positive experience, even if you “don’t
get it” at first. My goal is to create an environment that supports children like I was when I was young. In making it very personal, I know that I will do everything that I need to, in order to make schooling a positive experience for other children. I have walked in their moccasins, and I can assist to make their journey an easier and enjoyable journey!Some people ask me about my most defining moment after I started EduExcellence. I can, with definite certainty say the most rewarding moment occurred in October 2015!
We opened our doors in January 2007, and I took in 16 boys between Grade 1 and Grade 5/6. The specific group of boys was a hand full. To say they were all over the place is an understatement. One of these boys was particularly challenging. Make no mistake, I do have the capacity to both love and hate at the same time. He was brilliant, had fantastic gifts and a sweetheart of a boy and at the same time was a dynamic, energetic, multi faceted creature. He challenged me in ways I though was not possible. I mean, after all, I had a doctorate and could handle any child and situation thrown at me! It turned out that I still needed some training and he provided plenty.
He came in as a Grade 3 child, confused, sensory sensitive, needed remedial assistance and had some behavioural challenges. He left, after many an hour in my office, (with crying on both sides) as a confident Grade 7 learner, to be enrolled at a high end full academic school in the east of Pretoria. After that I did not see him and only heard bits here and there about his progress, until I met him again in October 2015.
We had a promotional evening for professionals in Lynwood, and we invited some of our alma mater learners. As he walked up to me to shake my hand I was speechless. He made eye contact and maintained the eye contact. We touch hands when we shook hands, something he was never able to do as a touch sensitive child. He spoke to me, told me that he was studying at a college, that he had a girlfriend, that he played in the first rugby team in his previous school and that he wanted to become a Veterinarian Physiotherapist. In short, in front of me stood this tall, handsome man. He had a plan, he had a life and we both knew that all the tears were worth it.
This was one of those defining moments, where I could see the end result of the hard work. I know it’s not the end of his story, and I will perhaps not see the full journey, but I know that I have a long term view on the children in our schools, and I may not get to see all the stories unfold, but I know that we are walking some part of their journey with them, and that is the best feeling ever!