From the Principal’s Desk – 30 June 2017

Dear ISH Community

A Season in Our Lives

I have always enjoyed sharing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People / Teenagers with students in my time as a teacher. I have been fortunate enough to hear Stephen Covey speak on more than one occasion and while the fundamental philosophy of his habits formed the basis of his address and workshops, the one message that has always stuck with me is about working with the seasons in our lives. It’s important for us to understand that we must plant in spring (invest our resources, time and energy) if we want to harvest in autumn (enjoy the rewards of your planning and work) and rest the lands in winter (we need time to rest and recover after a period of commitment and hard work). You cannot plant in autumn. Your harvest will not prosper you. You need to plan with care and create the future through vision, belief, understanding and lots and lots of sustained effort! Resilience and determination in the face of adversity also matter greatly during these times. Planting in the green freshness of spring allows the light, warmth and the rains that fall for healthy germination, development and growth during the long months of summer. As the world begins to cool, dry and change colour, we watch in wonder as living plants produce fruit and vegetables and in some instances, dry out and die in order to give us nourishment in the form of wheat and maize. Below the ground, roots, like sweet potatoes multiple as the plants above ground wither and there they rest, protected, waiting for us to collect. It’s a beautiful cycle of endless renewal and life in all its forms, is blessed and sustained as a result. Our lives are like these seasons in so many ways. There is a time to plan, plant, harvest and rest and as explained above, the timing of this cycle at it’s different points is so important. In our schools, the greatest harvest is the fruition and fulfilment of hopes and dreams that we see in the lives of our children and as leaders, the foundations that are laid over the years for schools to continue growing and improving the quality of teaching and learning along with all the value adds they offer.

As you know it is a time for me to leave ISH and move into a new season in my life. My sadness is real and deep but I know that for me, the timing of this change is right. I have enjoyed a wonderful time at Helderberg International School, investing and building in a community that I appreciate and care about very much. As it now comes to an end, I look back on the richness of these two and a half years, reflecting on this season of leadership, management, teaching and learning that I have enjoyed. Planning and implementing, having the opportunity to experience new challenges and successes, improving areas and working on creative projects have all been part of this happy journey. Meeting new people and being part of the wonderful ISH family has brought so much joy and relationship into my life. Having the chances to stand strong in the face of adversity and to protect and hold the community safe and especially in time of change or sadness; are a privilege that I don’t take for granted. It has been an honour to lead, walk alongside, build and grow an excellent management team and strong staff of teachers.

My time teaching has been particularly special and I will miss the students so much. ISH is now forever imbedded in my educator’s genetics and will always be part of my heart and history as a teacher. And why does this all matter? We do what we do as teachers for our students who always remain the centre of our conversation and our most important focus. They are the reason why us teacher-parent teams climb out of bed each morning and dedicate our lives to supporting or implementing the teaching and learning that impacts so significantly on the lives of the children. As an ISH community of adults, our harvest that will be realised as we anticipate the future and watch, ‘your children – our students’, achieve and reach for great heights and success. The seasons in education produce fruit in the lives of children for generations. The legacy of education reaches far into the future as it lives in the hearts and minds of people. Our years with each class of children matters greatly.

Now ISH needs to open itself with confidence for a new season of leadership, development and growth. I want to thank Mr McEwen and IES for the tremendous work they have put into identifying and securing a new Head of School, Mr Andre Swart, to ensure that the transition of leadership is smooth and positive. A new leader brings fresh thinking and renewed energy and with this, we will all witness the following season of years at ISH, filled with blessings and good for our beautiful school, students and community. I also want to thank Ms de Robeck for leading this school until Mr Swart arrives on the 1st September. Her unwavering commitment and loyalty to ISH over the years speaks of her dedication, care and service. I thank every teacher, parent and child who has touched my life while I have led here and trust that somewhere in our life journeys, our paths will meet again. I will miss you all.

Yours in Education
Mr G. C. Kitching
Head of School