Humansdorp Secondary School teacher retires after 38 years

Winston Nelson, with his wife, Shirley, as he retired from Humansdorp Secondary School, on April 30, after 38 years as a teacher.

Winston Nelson, with his wife, Shirley, as he retired from Humansdorp Secondary School, on April 30, after 38 years as a teacher. Photo: Supplied

Teacher Winston Nelson has served the community of Humansdorp for 38 years as an educator at Humansdorp Secondary School and now he bids farewell to the school as he looks forward to a new phase in his life.

Nelson was born in Thornham, in the Tsitsikamma area and began his schooling career at Middelbare School in Kruisfontein, which is now known as Kruisfontein Primary School.

After completing Grade 11 at the school, he was moved to Humansdorp Secondary School when the school opened its doors for the first time in 1980.

Nelson’s class was honoured to receive the title of the first matriculants at the school.

Thereafter, he enrolled at Dower College in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and received his qualification as a woodwork teacher in 1983.

Nelson then returned to Humansdorp Secondary School, in 1984, as a qualified teacher.

“The first day at the school I walked into the principal’s office, and I was addressed as ‘Sir’. I then realised that I had entered adult life,” said Nelson.

He said the principal at the time, Robert Kroutz, made him feel at home with his warm welcome.

“At the time, I taught woodwork and natural sciences, which I enjoyed because I had the right mentors to guide me,” said Nelson.

After three years at the school, he accepted a teaching post at Kruisfontein Primary School, in 1987, with Cedric Nel as the principal, at the time.

Nelson said he had a fantastic time at Kruisfontein Primary with the learners and his colleagues, which he will never forget.

Unfortunately, the Department of Education had different plans and instead transferred him and two of his colleagues to Humansdorp Secondary School in 1991, since there was a shortage of teachers.

He said it was very difficult for him to say goodbye to his learners and colleagues at Kruisfontein Primary.

“Returning to Humansdorp Secondary was more demanding, but I believe that I passed the test with flying colours,” said Nelson.

Despite facing numerous challenges when he returned to the school, he said no challenge was too big because he had done everything with passion.

“I believe that all my learners enjoyed my classes,” said Nelson.

He said there was always mutual respect between learners and teachers at the school.

Since being a tease has always been part of his personality, which many of his colleagues and principals have experienced, Nelson said he enjoyed making jokes in class and having fun but his learners knew when it was time to work all jokes were put aside.

He said during his 38 years of teaching he had worked under seven principals, with Shaun Felix being the last.

“There are so many highlights in my career as a teacher which I can mention but the one which stands out is the 100% pass rate that my Grade 12 class has had each year,” said Nelson.

He said when he left the school on April 30, he had mixed feelings because the school was in crisis with a shortage of teachers.

“The words of thanks from the learners made me feel that I had succeeded in my goal and purpose,” said Nelson.

He said he will miss the sports days, the learners and his colleagues.

However, Nelson said he looks forward to spending time enjoying some of his hobbies which include fishing.

“The Bible says that everything has its appointed time,” said Nelson.

“My time has come to say my final goodbyes to Humansdorp Secondary. Viva Humansdorp Secondary, viva.”