Teacher Feature

Ben Louw – Principal

Ben Louw has contributed to Kurland School for the past 20 years. Born and bred in Plettenberg Bay he has achieved a BA honours, has two children and is on the fire & rescue team. Bens goals are commendable and are achievable with the help of the community. Ben says ‘The current literacy rate is somewhere between 40-45%, our dream at Crags Primary would be to see it reach 90% with only 20 pupils per class, particularly in Grade 1/2′.Ben also says ‘We are very grateful for the support of Kids of Kurland, their support makes a huge difference and is essential to improving the education and futures of these children’

Mrs Evangeline Koeberg – Grade 1 teacher

This incredibly dedicated teacher has also been at Crags Primary for 20 years. Her brother in law was the principal in 1983 and asked Evangeline to help out for 6 months due to a teacher being on maternity leave, she came and never left!

Originally from Cape Town, Evangeline started teaching in 1976 and has never looked back, she loves teaching to her very core and when asked why, she merely states that she “absolutely loves children, they are the reason, the children of the Crags mean the world to me” and referring to her ultimate aim is “to give our best to them…”. Evangeline says that making her children laugh in the class is of upmost importance and says that “every day she looks forward to going to work and longs for them when it’s the school holidays”. When she was a child herself she had 45 dolls to whom she taught math’s every day, she laughs that her mother knew back then she was destined to be a teacher!

Evangeline continues to study, learn and develop herself. She has 3 children of her own, is a keen writer and has written a play along the lines of ‘snow white’ which she would love to come to fruition one day. She says the children absolutely love drama and dancing. They also love the arts and sadly the school currently lacks art and any creative classes.

Evangeline’s ultimate dream for the school, like Mr. Ben would also be to bring the literacy rate to 90/100%…how this is done obviously means more teachers and fewer pupils in the class but there are also additional interesting factors. P.T and gymnastics was stopped several years ago and linked with that the literacy rate declined and so she also hopes that this will come back one day.

The school desperately needs a Grade R/Nursery class as most of the pupils are going straight from home to Grade 1 at the tender age of just 5 years old. Out of her 34 children 17 came straight from home. Therefore the pupils already have a setback with Evangeline having to spend the first 6 months teaching just the basics such as politeness and discipline, talking, basic colours and states that the child starts off being confused with why we are asking these things of them. “There is just no communication at home, the basics are not being taught. There needs to be education for the parents on parenting skills…”. However despite the obstacles all of her pupils can now comprehensibly write (with the exception of 2 with special needs), an incredible achievement for her and her pupils.
A testament to Evangeline’s relationships with her pupils was a proud moment for her was when an ex pupil (Listy-Anne Kamm) with exceptional skills went onto study at Stellenbosch university and asked Evangeline to speak at her 21st birthday celebrations in Cape Town.

Mrs. Merle Davis – Grade 6-8 teacher

Incredibly not only was Merle born and bred in Kurland Village, attended Crags Primary herself as a pupil, but also both of her parents were teachers there and her father was the principal! Feeling that with her knowledge, experience and understanding of what needs to be done, Merle has now been a teacher at Crags Primary for 19 years following in her parents footsteps. She believes that coming from Kurland herself she can make a difference in the lives of the children.

Merle specializes in the senior years (12 – 16 years) and loves life orientation as she “can relate to what the children are going through” although she says “it is a challenge to teach right values in a community like Kurland where there is such a lot of drug and alcohol abuse”. However she does find that the children open up to her and she is there to listen.

Merle is the co-founder of the Hiking Club set up in 1992 which she is passionate about along with the after ‘School Social Club’ which deals with issues such as environment, Aids and manages a correspondence group to the USA. She is married with 3 children of her own.