Reflections by Ulric Conradie, Woodwork and Music Teacher

Carol Berry is the one who asked if I wanted to come and teach woodwork at the new high school after Benno left, and what a life-changer that was! I did most of my schooling at Michael Mount Waldorf so knew what the required projects were but thought I was too young to be a teacher. In fact, I never actually thought I’d ever be a teacher yet really needed to earn some money and fast!
But a strange thing started happening after a few weeks: I started looking forward to going in to teach my classes and the feeling just kept growing and growing, until I had to admit to myself that I was actually enjoying myself. Even though teaching is physically exhausting if you throw yourself into it like you should, I came away curiously energised after each class and I realised that the relationships that I was building with both my colleagues and my students was filling a huge gap in my life. Another realisation was that my relationships with these young people and seeing them grow up was more important to me than the act of teaching itself, i.e. I could not stand in front of a class of new students everyday and get the same enjoyment because the relationship factor would not be there.
This is why it is so hard to let it go because it is like losing my family. I really hope to bump into all my students in the coming years and see where they’re at in their lives. They and my colleagues are very dear to me and I am proud to have been a part of such a special high school. I also hope that the primary school will one day succeed in getting a new high school up and running. Waldorf education, even with all the shortcomings of a community-based school, is still by far the most wholesome education a child can get. I’ve been through a few systems myself and have observed a few more through the eyes of my son so I don’t say this lightly. Our valley needs a whole waldorf school and anyone who has been a part of our school and experienced the absolute magic that happened there and happens in the primary school will know what I’m talking about.
I am filled with hope for the future!
by Ulric Conradie

Ulric with Class 8
Ulric singing to the school in assembly
Class 9 woodwork 2017