Letter to a Teacher

Dear Ms Daniels

It’s been a while since our paths crossed for a fleeting season. I was the timid, 6-year old first-grader with a mop of honey curls and a protective scowl on the face, trying to make sense of a confusing world.  You were the gentle, sweetly-fragranced young teacher with a cheerful smile. You patiently taught me to sound out the ABC’s and string letters into words until those words transformed into magical stories. 

I remembered you the other day when someone asked: “What was your dream job when you were a kid?”


At that moment, from almost out of nowhere, a dusty forgotten dream gently floated in. The memory dated back decades ago, before too many seasons of life, grief and loss cast dark shadows on the purest parts of my childhood.

I wanted to be a teacher!” I replied.

In a floodgate of memories, I recalled how my best friend and I spent blissful hours after school in her back yard teaching our ‘learners’ the same way you did, with compassion and kindness. Except, our blackboard was the wall of her red brick house, and neatly stacked rocks were our first-graders.

My memory is fuzzy about the details, but Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Ms Daniels, you entered my life a year after my family joined the scores of families forcefully moved to a displaced community due to racial segregation in South Africa. In a world where I felt afraid and invisible, you made me feel seen.

Today, reading and writing fill the better part of my days, and it all began in a grade 1 classroom, decades ago, with you, Ms Daniels. 

For Everything, There is a Season

Poem by Glynis Klein

The world is suspended in states of noise and silence, peace and war.

Some navigating deep valleys of loss and sorrow, in silent states of mourning.

Fragile hearts splintered into a thousand pieces,

trying to make sense of a world that may never be the same again;

Causing you to question everything that came before;

Your identity, your relationships, Your beliefs, and your future.

Some losses can shake you to the core, shift your foundation in irreparable ways, 

nudging you towards new beginnings, a fresh start.

For some, it is a season of laughter and joy, celebration and gratitude.

Embrace such moments, for life is precious and such moments are fleeting.

Others are sowing a seed for the future,

taking steps to reach a new goal.

Be patient.  It will be worth the wait.

While some are reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago,

others are finally ready to let go of that which is no longer right for you.

Build the courage to let go of that which cannot support or grow you

towards becoming everything you were always meant to be.

Make room for something new, something more aligned with who you are now, in this life season.

You matter. Your life matters. Your purpose matters.

The world needs your unique strengths and gifts,

To crowd out the darkness with your precious light.

Remember your strengths and resilience

You have travelled through dark valleys before.

Recall those times and remember what helped you through then,

can guide you through now.

As we journey through this world, whichever season you are in,

Hold onto hope

because there are times and seasons for every purpose under the heaven.

Love for Reading

Blog Cover page

by Glynis Klein

The importance of reading became apparent early in my life. As a teenager, I had two favourite pastimes – reading and journaling!

Since adolescence, I love getting lost in books. Back then, the stories transported me from a fishbowl existence to fictional adventures, times and places so unlike my reality. Reading provides incredible opportunities to learn about other cultures, life contexts and others’ experiences. A familiar quote by Nelson Mandela claims that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world“. As someone passionate about promoting mental wellbeing through psychoeducation, this is a motto I embrace.

Early Reading

Growing up in an impoverished, displaced community, I did not attend pre-school. My first structured educational setting was a first-grade classroom. A room filled with teaching materials enticed me to the world of education. Fascinated, I learned how to string letters into words and words into sentences. Then suddenly, the sentences transformed into stories which can transport one to the realities of other people and families. Reading can instantly broaden horizons, and even at a young age can make one’s world immediately feel broader—the importance of reading links directly to education.


I grew up in an environment where privacy and healthy emotional expression was limiting. Therefore, journaling was a liberating outlet to express thoughts and emotions. Over the years, a love for journaling evolved into a passion for non-fiction writing.

Creative Writing

In my 1975 grade 1 classroom, we were handed large sheets of soft, white paper, wooden paint brushes and plastic cups of coloured paint. I had no idea what to paint, and my strokes were elementary. But, something about that blank canvas and creative freedom felt most appealing.

Fast forward to 2016, after years of private journaling, I was eager to grow my writing skills so that I could share my writing with others. To do so, I signed up for a creative writing course under the tutelage of a seasoned South African author, Mike Nicol. Eager to capture my fascinating family history, I maximised the opportunity to capture my mom’s biography. The writing course highlighted a typical intuitive character trait of introverts. That is, to draw out narrative life stories in others.

Impact on Personal Growth

During that winter, I spent hours listening to my mother’s life story. I caught a rare glimpse into the little girl, teenager and young adult before she stepped into the role of a parent. My mother shared the experiences that shaped her growth and future roles as wife, parent and friend. Something almost magical happens when we begin to see our parents in their totality. Once we better understand our parents and the significant experiences that impacted them can increase our empathy towards them. In turn, it can strengthen the parent/child relationship.

In retrospect, those childhood stirrings were links to my innate creativity, a valuable gift all of us possess in some measure. Today, reading and writing are like old friends and constant companions that contribute to my ongoing growth. As an introverted lark, my early mornings are spent indulging in these two passions. It provides an essential outlet to reflect and process life experiences and thereby enrich my interpersonal relationships and the way I engage with the world.

Happy reading!