The sun is my strength


Snore, snore, dream, dream, tweet, tweet, chirp, chirp, tootoo-to-toot, tootoo-to-toot, awake!  5.40 a.m.  Bathroom, get dressed, check school bag, feed dog a treat, out the door.  6.05 a.m.  Driving along the coastal road as the day cracks its first silver light across the dark and heaving ocean.  Glencairn, Fish Hoek, St James, Muizenberg.  I begin to refresh the day ahead…..lesson plans, certain children, certain teachers, school tasks…….thoughts of personal life enter and leave, the trained mind returning always to the school day ahead.  On the freeway towards Cape Town I notice pink marsh lilies singing their autumn lullabies to the passing traffic.  The golden sun has risen between clouds, heralding new miracles for the new day.  It’s 7.am.

I enter my classroom and prepare it for the day, before checking my school  notes, practicing a song or two on the recorder and heading for the staffroom, where teachers are gathering for the their verse at 7.30 a.m.  After this the teachers discuss current issues over coffee and one of us enters the playground for child supervision duties.

At 8 the children are assembled outside and led to their classrooms to begin the Main Lessson.

“The sun with loving light
Makes bright for me each day,
The soul with Spirit power
Gives strength unto my limbs,
In sunlight shining clear
I revere oh God,
The strength of humankind
Which Thou so graciously
Hath planted in my soul,
That I with all my might
May love to work and learn.
From thee come light and strength
To Thee rise love and thanks.”         

-Rudolf Steiner

And so begins the teaching day.

By the time the last lesson finishes, it’s 12.30 and we have been crafting, drawing, forming, moving, singing, playing, swimming, dancing, writing, adding, balancing, and so much more.  Not always all on the same day, but pretty much so.  We clean up and say our goodbyes and usually one or two children linger a little longer for a chat or to finish something off.  But in between the lessons there have been phone calls to parents, flash meetings with teachers or admin staff, nursing duties, altercation mediations, break duties and the like.  PHEW the day is over ….or is it?  No no not a chance, only just beginning.  Now come the faculty meetings, the enrichment workshops, conference planning, festival preparations, letter writing, chairperson duties and for some teachers, more teaching!  And then the board meetings and school functions, parent evenings, weekend workshops….and sometimes we go home for dinner and a good night’s rest…it’s true.  Well I believe some teachers get home and have to cook for their families as well.

Driving home I find myself letting go of it all and contemplating a sunset walk and swim at the beach.

And do we go back the next day and like the children, greet the dawning of a new school day with brand-new excitement and enthusiasm?  Mostly, yes!

Matthew Stodel
Class 2 Teacher