I came to Vienna, Austria, this week for a single purpose: to be part of something that my German teacher of 25 years ago started.
I was part of a group of students that had the opportunity to travel to German speaking countries on a school exchange programme. It was my first journey outside of the borders of South Africa, the first of many more to come. It was an event that changed my life forever.
Instead of living a life planned with specific requirements you thought you were destined to do, my life changed into a journey that included a few roller coaster rides along the way. I will never want to change it. I made many mistakes, but instead of seeing these as failures they became those necessary training lessons you need in life.
About two years ago I was on a short stay in Vienna on my way back from a conference. While reflecting one evening on how I actually got there and still manage to speak German I decided to look up my teacher from so many years ago.
So I googled. I managed to find Alet Conradie at the Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, South Africa. I later learned about this tour she was planning to Vienna for her current students. I knew I had to be there. And so it happened that my usual June holiday that also includes my birthday coincided with their tour to Austria and Germany.
To get back to the original topic: I realised during the past few days how this teacher of mine still keeps on motivating her students to go so much further, think outside of the box, and to keep on exploring their worlds. She does not spoon feed them with endless instructions, but rather give them enough information, knowledge and guidance so that they can do things themselves and keep on discovering this world, each in their own unique way.
After all these years even myself still keep on learning from her. At this specific occasion two groups of students were put together - one from South Africa and one from Poland. I now also need to mention their teacher, Justyna Sobota. Even though I managed to get to know her only for about three days, she is clearly of the same calibre.
The way Alet Conradie managed to get these two groups of students to start to interact with each other demonstrated the skillfulness she continues to apply when working with diverse students. Teachers achieve so much more when they inspire students to achieve great things in life.
The way these teachers put these inspirations into real actions and make their students take those extra few steps to reach out above the rest should become the norm. Most of use just need a nudge or two that encourage us that you can do better, that you can do what you dream of.
How Alet Conradie encourage her students to be exceptional keeps on being an inspiration for everyone. This should become a blue print for other teachers on how to motivate and develop these young minds that will shape our future before it is corrupted by negative thinking and this idiotic ideology of a collective mindset that just brings everyone down in the process.
Exceptional teachers also have exceptional challenges as they always challenge the status quo in their mission to create excellence.
I challenge everyone to start to write about those teachers that are really making a difference so that the world can see and learn how important our teachers are.