Teacher retires after 41 years

Rosalind Manuel holds her long service recognition award she received from the Western Cape Education Department for serving Portavue Primary School for 40 years. Ms Manuel is retiring at the end of this school year.

Ending a sterling 41 years in education, teacher Rosalind Manuel, will bid a fond farewell to Portavue Primary School when she retires next month.

Ms Manuel served 40 of her 41 years as a teacher at Portavue Primary School, and said she considers this career choice a calling. As a senior teacher in the foundation phase, she has experienced first-hand the changes in education over the years, and not just embraced it, but went on various courses to improve her skill.

“I asked God for His guidance when I had to make a career choice, and teaching for 41 years is only by God’s grace. I started out as a teacher with a lower primary certificate. Those years it meant that you complete your Standard 8 (Grade 10) certificate and go into teaching. I was not satisfied with this though, and I wanted to improve on my qualification. Later, while teaching, I got my junior primary certificate, and eventually my senior certificate (matric). I also completed a diploma for girls’ physical education, and was the netball coach. Over the years, I completed many different courses, like a counselling course, as I realised so many of our pupils needed it. Other training courses I have completed included waste management, a course on helping children who experience problems in the mathematics and English learning areas, a reading course to help pupils struggling with it, computer training, outcomes-based education, as well as a first aid responder course. God has been so good for me,” Ms Manuel

Ms Manuel added that she holds both the pupils and staff at the school very dear, and will miss them a lot.

“This was a lifetime. However, it is time to go. God has an assignment for each season of your life, and although I am retiring, I know God has another assignment for me. I always strive to improve myself and have already completed courses at church in faith, counselling and deliverance. I became a grandmother this year, and I am looking forward to spending time with my grandson. I would also like to travel,” Ms Manuel said.

Portavue Primary School principal, Shamima Lombard, described Ms Manuel as being “the epitome of transformation”.

Said Ms Lombard: “She has adapted and transformed her teaching styles to meet the endless changes made to the face of education. She was given the status of senior teacher and was recently awarded for her long service by the Western Cape Education Department. A lady of grace, strong moral and religious values, she still carries herself with the professionalism and elegance as she did when she first entered the classroom in 1977. Ms Manuel shows no lack of energy, as she often gives our younger teachers a good challenge on the netball court, during staff physical training sessions and even on the bowling alley. Her zest for life and her great sense of humour adds the spice, as she often shares a funny personal experience or belts out a ‘happy birthday’ song whenever a colleague celebrates a birthday.

Ms Manuel is also a prankster who enjoys taking the mickey out of others.

“Yet, our grand dame is never afraid to speak her mind and make her mark. She is highly respected for her directness, honesty and assertiveness. She has given our school and her pupils all of herself. Her consistent outstanding pupil results bear testimony to her hard work and dedication each and every year. It is during trying times in education, that she managed to maintain 100% pass rates as well as attain 100% pass rates in English and mathematics in the Annual National Assessment tests.”

Being a teacher, Ms Manuel said, also helped her with “financial stability”, and helped her to pay for her now three adult sons’ university fees.

She added: “My one son has a PhD in electrical engineering, my other son has two Master’s degrees and my other son has a degree in information technology. I thank God for all of that. I want to encourage people, that it is not important where you start, but where you end. Anybody can reach success – my mother was a factory worker and my father was a street sweeper.”

Ms Lombard said Ms Manuel’s extensive knowledge and expertise will be missed.

Wishing her well on her retirement, Ms Lombard said: “Her reputation as an excellent teacher preceded her. May her retirement be the start of a whole new chapter in which she creates new memories with her growing family. May she be justly rewarded for the impact she has made on each and every pupil who has had the privilege of being taught by her. May her blessings be multiplied for her invaluable contribution to our school and to education as a whole.Words cannot express our gratitude.”