1 February 2017 – Like her namesake Lizel Jurgensen, Lisle (as in Liezel) Loots is not a newcomer to Bloemfontein. She moves to Bloem and Saint Andrew’s from Margate, but Bloemfontein was her home before she left for the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
Nonetheless, returning to the City of Roses from the easy-going coastal lifestyle of Margate takes a little getting used to.”It’s quite a change, but not too great. We lived in Bloemfontein before we went to Port Shepstone to Shelley Beach. I stayed here for three years after completing my studies at North West University in Potch,” Lisle said in a recent chat.
It’s back to Bloem for new Saints’ grade 4 teacher Lisle Loots
Her first teaching post was in Bloemfontein, teaching grade 10 to 12 boys IT and CAT at HTS Louis Botha. Then she got married and her husband was promoted to Depot Manager of Coca-Cola and transferred to KZN. Now they have made the move back to Bloem with Coca-Cola.
“I do prefer teaching in the primary school”
Lisle will be teaching grade 4 boys Afrikaans, maths and life skills. “After 13 years of teaching, I do prefer teaching in the primary school,” she revealed. “It’s just easier. The workload is not as big for the kids. Children, at that age, are easier to handle than high school pupils.
“Also, when I started teaching I began with grades 10 to 12. That was very hard. If I had to go back to high school now, it would be easier, because I have more experience. But starting off with grades 10 to 12 was tough. I prefer the smaller kids.”
She admitted her knowledge of Saint Andrew’s was very limited before she applied for a post at the school. Like many others, she thought Saints was a private school.
“It all happened so quickly”
“I didn’t have anyone to talk to about Saints,” Lisle explained. “It all happened so quickly. When we heard we are coming back to Bloem, I sent my CV out to all the schools in Bloemfontein that I knew of. Mr Thomas phoned me on 8 December and asked me if I would be interested. There wasn’t much talking about it, it just happened very quickly.”
Being offered a post at Saint Andrew’s was a great blessing, she said. “If it wasn’t for this post at Saint Andrew’s I was probably going to stay on in Margate, so it was an absolute miracle for me that I got this transfer.
She also realised that a post at Saints is highly sought after. “That’s why I think of myself as being very lucky to be here,” she said.
“They really care”
Becoming a part of a new school could be a difficult and intimidating experience, but it has been a comfortable one, Lisle added: “I think it is going very well. I told my husband that the first thing that struck me when I started here was that people care. They really care. There aren’t fake smiles. They’re sincere. Even though I have a lot of work to do to get myself sorted, I am happy and I feel settled. I am happy to come to work in the mornings.”
Having been through teaching school children at many different levels, from grade 12 and now down to grade four, she said she wanted to teach the boys at Saint Andrew’s important work habits.
The importance of work ethic
“I think the most important thing, for me, is work ethic. Grade four is the lowest grade I have ever taught. I began with grade 10 to 12, then I did grade 8 and 9 maths, then I did grade 5, now I am grade 4. They’re so young. We need to teach them so much about work ethic, good work habits and how to be organised.
“Once they get into what we expect from them, then we can really start pushing them. I just want to help them get organised and establish good work habits and, obviously, I want to teach them and be a good teacher. My main priority is to be a good teacher.”
We ended the chat by asking Lisle what or who at Saint Andrew’s had made the biggest impression on her. “The person who has made the biggest impression on me is Mr Thomas. He is so kind. I had a problem in the first week with my son and he helped me with him. I thought that was so nice,” she said with emotion.