As the chapter in his career as an educator and deputy principal of Patensie Primary School closes, Martin August always knew that he would have to say goodbye to the school, but that did not make his departure any easier.
August said during the apartheid era, career choices were very limited and teaching was one of the best options at the time.
Once he completed his qualification at Dower College in Gqeberha (then Port Elizabeth), he began his career as a teacher at Boesmansriviermond NGK Primary School in 1984, a Christian-based school located between Alexandria and Port Alfred.
Since August was the only male teacher among the staff of seven at the school, he was responsible for all sport which included the boys at the school such as rugby, athletics and cross country running.
“I was fortunate to be a former EP athlete for many years which made me suitable for this responsibility,” said August.
Despite being the only male teacher at the school, he said when he first joined the school, he felt accepted by both the learners and the community.
In addition, he enjoyed the fact that the beach was about 3km away from the school.
In 1985, he began teaching at Patensie Primary School for one year before taking up a teaching post at Hankey Primary School from 1986 to 1990.
He was then employed and appointed as principal of Du Preez NGK Primary School during the years 1991 to 1992 and from 1993 to 2006 he accepted a post as the principal of Milton UCC Primary School.
Finally, in 2007 he returned to Patensie Primary where he took up the post of deputy principal and remained at the school until he retired in January this year.
“The post at Patensie Primary had its challenges, but the staff and learners made my position as deputy principal a very enjoyable one,” said August.
He said he knew a time would come when he would have to say goodbye to Patensie Primary and teaching in general.
“I will miss the interaction with teachers and learners the most,” said August.
Despite his good experience throughout his teaching career, he said that times had changed quite a lot from 1984 when he began his teaching career.
August said some of the challenges faced by learners and teachers included changes to the curriculum and a lot of administration work.
Furthermore, he said there was not enough practical in-service training for teachers.
His hope for the future of all schools is that they elect their school governing bodies in such a way that they will be blessings to the school and not burdens.
“Members of any SGB must be honest, of high moral standing and be well educated,” said August.
Now that he has retired, his plans include relaxing, reading, enjoying time with his family, travelling and most important, he hopes to seek the favour of God with more vigour.