Bill Schroder is the stuff teaching legends are made of. He was strict, yet kind; firm and consistent, yet creative and playful when needed. He knew the magical mix of discipline and care needed to ensure the loyalty of his students.
In this warm-hearted, inspiring and often funny memoir, Schroder looks back on four decades as an English and Latin teacher and, later, headmaster, including 19 years at Pretoria Boys High.
His holistic approach to teaching earned him the respect of both teachers and students. Teaching is not only about conveying knowledge, he believed, but also about looking after the emotional needs of students. For Schroder, the institution was never more important than the individual - he always put his students first.
As a headmaster he became known for doing things his own way. He gave students a voice where others wanted to silence them, he found creative ways to turn problem schools around and never allowed departmental admin to get in the way of teaching. In the early 1990s when schools were opened to all races, Pretoria Boys High under him played a leading role in transforming their school. In his retirement he also served as a consultant and a mentor to a school in a Pretoria township.
Here is a teacher who left an indelible mark on thousands of pupils from Cape Town to Pretoria.