I phoned. I booked. I surfed.

For the longest time I was afraid of the ocean. For the longest time I was more than happy to be mesmerised by the waves from the safety of my parked car in the parking lot in Mouille Point.

I used to try – really try to enjoy getting into the water. Thirteen years ago I was jumping off some big rock, off some big beach in Cape Town and I jumped a little too far out. I got caught by the current and had to hold on to the seaweed to pull myself back to safety. Looking back it doesn’t seem too bad. But for an eleven year old, it was pretty daunting. So much, that it kept me out of the sea, preferring to just watch.

Strangely I have always had a relationship with the ocean. Having a bad day? Go visit the sea. Having a great day? Go visit the sea. I found myself constantly drawn to this body of water; feeling myself relax and centre.

One day I’d had enough. I was tired of sitting on the beach looking out to the ocean. So I decided to try surfing. I’m certain of death so if it must happen, why not by the hands of what relaxes me.

I phoned Gary’s Surf School in Muizenberg. I booked a 2-hour session. And I surfed. I didn’t die, surprisingly. I had a tutor for the lesson. Anything I did on the board was amazing – she built up my confidence with patience and encouragement. I knew the tricks she was using but I welcomed the confidence. You need it. If you’re keen to surf, go to this school.

This was huge for me. Like for real-real, not for play-play.

Surfing, on its own, is refreshing and exhilarating. For me, every time I walk TOWARDS the ocean, I feel awakened and alive.

“Danger is real. Being afraid is a decision.”

The best teacher remains a student.

Tomorrow is the start of my internship. Apparently I should be “better prepared” because this is the second one.
I struggle to accept this attempt of comfort when I think any kind of comfort doesn’t exist when dealing with hormonally charged teenagers. So, as I attempt to prepare for sleep before tomorrow’s onslaught, a very familiar thought walked through my mind: What does it mean to be a teacher? Shockingly (or not so shockingly) this is a concept that isn’t new. An answer that often meets this questions comprises of words like: inspire, role-model, change, motivator, new thought, liberate etc etc etc

But what does it mean to be a teacher? What exactly is my purpose? Am I just there to deliver information? This is fundamentally impossible. The personality of anyone can’t be divorced from their work. Right?
This isn’t a superficial examination: looking at what it means to be a teacher is directly linked to what is learning, and as a result the foundations of the education system. The system which, by law says each and every person must engage with. So examining this is not done lightly. And honestly, on the advent of my teaching practice, these questions are fitting.

Another question which seems to be growing at the speed of a newborn: What is a successful teacher? How do you measure success in the education system? Then, how do you measure personal success? In a society built on competition, it would be near impossible to ask a professional to remove or try to dilute their competitive nature from their work. So what is a successful teacher? A punctual one? A role-model? A figure of authority and structure?

Many questions, each with its own variety of answers. Watch this space.