Face2Face with Get Ahead Projects operational head, Annelise Pieterse
Q: What do you do?
A: I am the operational head at Queenstown Get Ahead Primary School.
Q: What do you like about what you do?
A: I love the fact that I am part of a very special community of people who get to see minds develop and shape future generations. There are no limits as to what you can achieve as a teacher and there is nothing more rewarding in life than watching a young person master a situation and make connections with the world around them.
Q: What is the most important thing government can do to improve the quality and standard of education in South Africa?
A: Government needs to prioritise pre-school education programmes. Too much emphasis is placed on matric results. The focus should be on how well we prepare pre-schoolers for formal education. We must reform the way we recruit, train, and support teachers. High-quality teachers help pupils succeed.
Q: How has Covid-19 affected your academic program and what measures have you put in place to address these challenges?
A: Teachers were very innovative; they set up whatsapp groups to correspond with parents and pupils. We used voice notes, videos and PDF docs with work and activities.
This has forged excellent communication and a strong bond between teachers and parents. Parents embraced this challenge and became fully involved in their children’s education.
We were able to bring all grade 7 pupils back full time from June 1, 2020. The other grades were phased in over a two week period and attended school on alternating days. The work missed was minimal as we worked throughout lockdown and managed to complete the full curriculum, not just the trimmed curriculum. In the event of a child falling behind, arrangements were made to catch up with one-on-one support.
The department of health and safety did on-site inspections and were happy with all the measures in place. I attribute our success to dedicated teachers and highly committed parents. The parents truly stepped up to the plate and ensured that the 2020 academic year was not lost.
Q: What makes you proudly South African?
A: The way in which we South Africans can rally together in times of adversity.
Q: What does responsible citizenship look like to you?
A: A responsible citizen to me is a person who has the moral courage to stand up for those who cannot do so for themselves.
Q: When you are not working what are you doing?
A: Thinking about work … ( and I also enjoy cooking, reading, building puzzles).
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: You are going to be okay.
Q: Your favourite book?
A: Non-fiction: A New Earth by Echardt Tole; Fiction: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Q: The best about Komani?
A: The caring community.