Good Hope Seminary teacher wins top award

Leon Linz, deputy principal of Good Hope Seminary High School, received the Kader Asmal Excellence Award for teaching, earlier this month.

Mr Linz, the deputy principal of Good Hope Seminary School, received the Kader Asmal Excellence Award for teaching from the provincial government at a ceremony earlier this month.

“It is an enormous honour to receive such a prestigious award. The award is an affirmation of the values that are so important to me and recognition of the role of educator activists: those who, according to the criteria for the award, have a feel for social justice, who lead by example and take a stand on the grounds of conscientiousness,” he said.

Mr Linz became deputy principal at the school in July but has been a teacher for 25 years. “I knew from the outset that education was not simply about subject teaching, and being in education has provided me with many opportunities to be, and do so much more.”

This year he has been involved in the City Bowl school’s Inclusive Summits, the second of which took place earlier this month. It’s an initiative close to his heart.

“Bringing people from different schools together is, in itself, an important exercise in collaboration and communication,” he said.

Mr Linz said he enjoys working with young people and that teaching is always challenging and never boring.

“I have also been privileged to meet the most amazing diversity of people, especially the English teachers I am most in contact with. Teaching also ensures that I am always learning and hopefully growing.

“Teaching is enormously demanding but can be incredibly rewarding too. If you want to make a difference, this is one profession where that is possible. Engaging with young people can be so enriching and seeing people developing both personally and academically is a privilege which puts life into perspective.”

Mr Linz believes too much emphasis is placed on academic results and not enough on values, ethical leadership development and the promotion of inclusivity, diversity and equality in schools.

“Quality teacher training and professional development is also crucial.

“There is also a distinct lack of regard for the teaching profession and far too little appreciation for the work that exceptional educators do,” he said. “The excessively bureaucratic nature of the education system can also be stifling.”

Good Hope Seminary High School’s principal, Desiré Christian, congratulated Mr Linz on winning the award and said the school was very proud of him. She also the praised the work he has been doing with the summits.

“It is absolutely wonderful and echoes what we are trying to do at the school.”