Well respected teacher retires

A million memories as Sandy Zietsman ends an illustrious teaching career

AFTER a career that has spanned more than two decades Sandra Beryl Smit, aka Mrs Sandy Zietsman, has laid down her chalk and pen as she enters retirement.

Currently teaching at Pongola Akademie, she finished her school career at Pretoria Girls’ High before studying at the Johannesburg College of Education.

She obtained the Transvaal Teacher’s Higher Diploma with English and Psychology as her majors.

While completing her diploma she started on a BA degree at Unisa, also majoring in English which was accomplished a year after the diploma, and was qualified to teach English, Geography and Biblical studies.

She taught English at Pretoria Girls’ High (3 years) and Empangeni High (21 years), where she produced many plays, started a Drama Festival and was Head of Department, before moving to Pongola 18 years ago.

Sandy reminisced on some of the stand-out moments in her career.

‘My highlights include establishing a working library at St Catherine’s Pre-Primary School in Empangeni, and founding a teenage youth group called Interact (stemming from Rotary International) where teenagers interact with the Empangeni community – visiting hospitals, the old-age home and various charitable institutions.

‘They completed many projects to improve aspects of the community and this organisation is still active today.

Sense of humour
‘The annual English Junior and Senior Orators’ Competition was always a highlight for those with oratory skills – competing enthusiastically to be the Orator of the Year!

‘Maybe the prizes were also a motivation, as all the competitors received prizes.

‘The external adjudicators were always impressed by the Afrikaans-speaking pupils who spoke so eloquently in English speeches,’ she said.

Adopting an approach of motivating and inspiring her pupils with a sense of humour, Sandy said she will miss a host of experiences she’s come to enjoy over the years.

‘I will definitely miss the energy of the kids! Their youthful creativity is stimulating.

‘The sense of togetherness among the staff will also be missed.

‘There is a special spirit and sense of togetherness and camaraderie) that binds Pongola Akademie together.

‘I stick by my mantra: Pongola Akademie is the best school of its kind in South Africa!’

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