MEET OUR DEPUTY PRINCIPAL, MRS HALL

Born and bred in Zimbabwe, Mrs Hall spent most of her upbringing at the mission station with her missionary parents as well as her brother and two sisters.

From an early age, Mrs Hall was sent to boarding school, where she said that she had to learn to fend for herself quite quickly.

In the duration of her secondary studies, she failed her O level exams, despite having an A aggregate with high marks in Maths, English and Afrikaans. She regards this a pivotal moment in her development of character. From that moment, she learnt to use the disappointment to steer herself back onto the track towards reaching her goals.

She fondly speaks of her parents’ support during that time and it is evident that they are her rolemodels.

Although being accepted at UCT, Mrs Hall was not fond of the campus environment and went on to complete her tertiary studies at the then Rand Afrikaans University. She completed her Bachelor of Science majoring in Botany and Zoology.

She admits that studying in South Africa meant she would only see her parents once a year and this forced her to gain maturity. She expresses how difficult it was to adjust to Apartheid South Africa, as in Zimbabwe, they would have many different guests from various cultures sleeping over and sharing a meal with them.

Mrs Hall knew all her life that teaching was her passion, which may be attributed to her mechanical engineer father, who rather chose to teach.

In 1984, Mrs Hall acquired her first job at a private college in Gauteng where her first pay cheque was R642. In 1990, her husband was transferred to Cape Town, where she took on a post at The Settlers for a year. She then took on a post at Fairmont High School the following year, for a year.

However it was her three years at a school in Simon’s Town where she became the ‘local vet’.

She recalls one day that one learner shot a baboon at school. She took the dead baboon to class and announced that the whole school should proceed to the lab. There she fully dissected the baboon and allowed the learners, from Grade 1s to Matrics, to learn about the animal’s body.

From then, learners would bring their ill pets to her in hopes of a diagnosis. Mrs Hall detests rodents and every time someone brought them she would ask if it is female or male. If female, she would always say that it was pregnant.

1995 saw the return of Mrs Hall to The Settlers, where she was actively involved in Amenities. In 2002, she was appointed as Deputy Principal. She played a pivotal role in the erection of the Freedom Bell and the Cochoqua Court. It was a special moment, for her, to be able to have Ahmed Kathrada visit the school and share on his experiences.

She believes that when you are a teacher, there are no instant rewards. She enjoys watching people becomes successes and celebrate their success with them. She is a firm believer that time spent on people is invaluable.

Retirement could not come sooner for Mrs Hall. She looks forward to having more time to focus on her hobbies, which include mosaics, sewing, crochet, knitting, fabric paint and reading. Currently she is reading Deon Meyer’s Cobra.

She is unapologetic over the fact that she watches 7de Laan almost every day. To her, Kim is a treat to watch, but Charmaine is her favourite because of the central role she plays in the storyline and her compassionate side, similar to that of Mrs Hall.

Mrs Hall is currently on the Pastoral Manco, RCL, in charge of Prefects, involved in discipline procedures and policies as well as the subject head for Life Sciences.

One of our past pupils, Paul Fortuin, had this to say about Mrs Hall:

"If you ask any student about a teacher they have last seen more than two years ago, usually they would not have much to say. Me, on the other hand, can remember almost every detail about Mrs. Hall.

It was not because of who she was or the things she did, but the type of person she was to me.  She respected me at times I did not deserve respect, she supported me at times I did not deserve support.

When I pushed everyone who was close to me away, those who had my best intentions at heart, in an attempt to convince myself it is me against the world and everyone is against me, she offered her support and guidance when I needed it most.

It started in grade nine when I was a student in her biology class. I remember her walking into classroom and thinking to myself; ‘this is the only class where I think I really have to be quiet and pay attention because she does not look like she plays around, AT ALL.’

Me having a tiny reputation of being a ‘naughty kid’ didn't help the situation.

At first she kept a watchful eye over me making sure I did not fool around. After a few weeks I figured if I could not talk to anyone  else in the class, I'm going to talk to her. This is obviously after she moved me to the front of the class because I was chatting a bit too much at the back.

After we spoke she got to know me and I got to know her. My  thoughts towards her changed from that moment onwards. From being my most strict teacher in grade nine, to being someone who I could trust and depend on.

To be associated with the ‘naughty’ group in my grade it left Mrs. hall so confused as to why I was it was the case, I did not strike her as that sort of person and reminded me that you become the 5 closest people you surround yourself with .

I was immature and naïve to doubt that and that I would remain the person I was.
Grade 10 came along, I had a new bio teacher and Mrs Hall, if I'm not mistaken, became our grade head.

She was no longer there to always keep that close eye on me and that led to me breaking many rules in the school's code of conduct, and finding myself in her office on regular occasions.

I was always actually happy deep down inside when going to her office because if I had a story that supported my innocence, she would give me a chance to explain and would always support me even when times she really should not have.

I am perhaps guilty of taking advantage of her "soft spot". I was just generally happy to see her. I thought of it merely as some ‘catching up’ time.

What I am really thankful for is at a time when my relationship with my parents was not the best, due to me breaking their trust on countless occasions and disappointing them with some bad decisions. She was there for me to talk to. There were times we would exchange tears, I would be opening up to her telling how I feel, what's been bothering me at home, at school, everything.

I felt like she was the only person I could speak to and who understood me. I can honestly say she was like a second mother to me and that I will always appreciate her and keep her in my heart no matter where I go or what I do, because without her I would not be the person I am today and the man that I am becoming.

There was a moment that stuck with me and I will always remember this day clearly: Mrs Hall was having a meeting with my parents and I about how if I kept on disobeying the rules, I would get expelled or suspended.

My parents’ response was to take me out of Settlers and place me in a school  walking distance away, so they would npt have to ‘waste’ their money anymore. At this school, I knew if I had been sent there, I would really be able to do whatever I want, whenever I wanted to. I thought it was good at the time but actually it would have been detrimental for my future.

That’s when it really hit me.

Mrs. Hall really opened my eyes, to how much she cared by asking my parents to give me another chance knowing that if I had to leave at that moment things would not get better for me at all.

So, even at a time when my parents saw no other option but to give up, she saw something else. She never gave up and I knew that deep down I was a good person and that I was just acting out, trying to be someone I was not to impress people who I did not like, which is mostly the case with teens today.

Even though in my final year I still got into some trouble, old habits die-hard I guess?

On a serious note, looking back I do not see any of my choices as mistakes; I see them as life lessons.

At the end of the day, I can tell many stories about how Mrs. Hall influenced my life in a positive way, but I can never put into words how much it meant to me.

Many people assume that a teacher’s job is just to teach, to supply kids with information, end of story, but when you meet a teacher, who you can trust, open up to, someone who won't judge you but rather support you.

Someone who won't misguide you, but rather lead you into right direction.

Somebody who shows you love and support, when you feel unappreciated and lonely.

That’s a person that cares about you.

That's the difference between a teacher just teaching and one as influential as Mrs. Hall.

In my short life, I've come to understand the value of people like you, for who you are and respect and care for you. These are the people you should be most grateful for, appreciate this person and try to never let them down.

I can honestly say that the life lessons I've learnt from you, Mrs. Hall,  I carry with me wherever I go and view it as the best and most important lessons I've ever learnt at school.

Something I learnt after school that made me think back to you. Always seeing potential in me is a phrase that says; "If you look at a man the way he is he becomes worse, but if you look at a man the way he could be, he becomes the person they should be.”

Thank you for seeing the person I could be and instilling that belief in myself that I will be the best person I can be. It's funny how I always wanted a chance to tell you how much I appreciated you and here I got my chance.

You are such an amazing human being, truly a blessing from above.

Keep on changing young peoples lives and being that example that every others person should acknowledge and follow."

Written by Jaimey-Ann Dyers
Press Club