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– From PA School –

A salute to Ms Lydia Atteridge

Jul 13, 2020Teachers

Written by Chandré Fillies

Port Alfred High School, a school of excellence, not academically, but socially.  Set in great beauty beside the ocean, it is well-resourced school with great support from the community.  I believe that it is equipped with teachers who strive for excellence.  These are teachers who go beyond the call of duty.  A perfect example is Ms Atteridge.

Ms Atteridge was my Business Studies teacher, a business minded woman with knowledge of stocks and shares that meant she also conducted her own private business affairs.  She was inspirational and encouraged me to aim high, work hard and stay humble, because humanity meant everything to her.

She was a ball of energy that brightened my day.  When I first met Ms Atteridge, I noticed she has a really soft voice and that she liked wearing colourful beaded bracelets and necklaces.  Her classroom stood out from the others because she attached inspirational quotes to the door.  That was one of the reasons why I was so excited to go to her class; I would always read a quote or two before entering.

I was the only Afrikaans learner in her classroom.  When I realized that, fear consumed me.  I felt like an outsider in a class that consisted of about 60 learners.  However, despite the fears and emotions I felt, Ms Atteridge made me feel as though I was part of a family that disregarded any differences.  I started to believe that I belonged in that class.  Ms Atteridge was the only teacher who could do this.

Ms Atteridge always had a smile on her face, no matter how the day was.  When I walked down the corridors she would always greet me with a smile that automatically made me smile every day.  This was one of the reason why I didn’t want to leave her class, however, it was not the only reason.

She was indeed a master at teaching her subject, a craftsman in her own way.  I had a misconception about Business Studies; I thought that it was all about Maths and Accounting, a dreadful situation.  However, Ms Atteridge through her teaching showed me that it was more than just these frightful subjects.  She always accompanied the content with storytelling.  Listening to her stories was entertaining and it made me more interested in the content.  “Thinking outside the box” was an expression that she believed in and she always said that Business Studies was just that.  She encouraged and pushed me to do better whenever I struggled with any of the content.  She really cared.

Ms Atteridge was always concerned about her learners, like a hen concerned about her chicks.  Failure was not an option, if success was where we were headed , she’d wait for us to catch up.  She made sure that every learner understood the works.  Ms Atteridge even made notes for us out of our own textbooks, however, she also encouraged us to read a chapter a day because she might have missed some content.  I was grateful for her because she went above and beyond to make Afrikaans notes for me.  I knew then and there that she was a very kind teacher with a soft heart.

I remember her crying over something that happened to her.  She opened up to us as after we asked what was wrong.  I experienced who she really was, right at that moment, a person who would not hurt a fly.  The most amazing thing was that she motivated us through what she had experienced.  It felt good because I learned that I should not allow anything to bring me down.

Ms Atteridge used to tell my mother how smart I was whenever she saw her.  She was not just interested in knowing me, but in my family too.  She kept on asking my mother about my future and she also gave my mother advice for when I reached university.

Give me a chance to write an article about her, give me a chance to write a book about her, still it would never be enough to display her beautiful life and the great impact she made in mine. I SALUTE HER.

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