HomeLifestyle & TravelLifestyleSchool’s out for teacher Adri

School’s out for teacher Adri

Adri van Heerden’s career is a testament to the profound impact a dedicated teacher can have on countless lives. Her story is one of passion, perseverance, and a deep love for education that will continue to inspire even after she steps out of the classroom.

As Adri, a beloved Grade One teacher and Head of Department (HOD) at Laerskool President Steyn, approaches her 60th birthday, her impending retirement marks the end of an illustrious career in education.

Her journey, love for teaching, reflections on retirement, and deep family bonds provide a heart-warming and inspiring story.

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In love with her career

Her career in education has been more than just a job; it has been a calling.

Inspired by her parents, both deeply involved in the education sector, Adri’s passion for teaching ignited at a young age.

‘I used to help my mother mark books and decorate her classroom into a learning environment,’ she recalls.

Her father, an inspector of education, further influenced her by taking her along on school inspections. ‘I accompanied him and noted the reports he had written even though I did not quite understand it.’

‘The best part of my work is developing skills in children they didn’t realise they had,’ she says.

‘To develop a Grade One learner to read, write, and do maths is not only a challenge but the biggest reward.’

Watching children explore, experiment, and grow has been the most fulfilling aspect of her career.

Adri acknowledges every profession has its challenges, but the stakes in teaching are incredibly high.

‘Teaching has the risk of damaging a child’s life or preventing them from developing to their full potential,’ she explains.

Despite the emotional toll, she finds it immensely rewarding. ‘No words can explain it.’

Beyond her classroom, Adri has been instrumental in training and inspiring fellow teachers. Through in-service training, she has shared her passion and dedication, encouraging others to strive for excellence. Something that also stands out for her is being a netball coach.

‘I love umpiring and coaching because you develop learners in another way.

‘Sport helps them to get rid of frustration and emotional damage. It also teaches them rules and discipline.

‘Feeling the sun on your skin and breathing air while exercising is the way to experience new challenges. Achieving the goals you have set in sport is not the only thing that drives one, but also the reward of achieving the goal at a high level.

‘Every child that went through my hands made footprints in and on my heart,’ she says, reflecting on her many years of service.

Approaching retirement

With retirement on the horizon, Adri faces a mix of emotions.

‘One would think you would be scared, but that is not the case for me. I have worked hard over the years and gave it my all. I am ready and looking forward to retirement,’ she says with confidence.

For her, retirement is not an end, but a new beginning. ‘There is a time to come and a time to go.’

Adri and her husband plan to move to the Western Cape, where she intends to engage in charity work and fulfil her dream of running an Air bed-and-breakfast.

‘I love to entertain and spoil people, and I have a very creative side that I want to share with others,’ she says.

She is particularly excited about spending quality time with her husband and embracing this new chapter in their lives.

To those approaching retirement, she offers this advice: ‘Do not fear it but see it as a second chance and a new chapter in the book called life. Grab it with both hands.’

Family dynamics

For Adri, family support has been crucial in maintaining the demanding pace of her career.

‘A teacher’s children get exposed to being very organised at a young age, and it is an asset to their lives despite spending less time with their parents,’ she notes.

Her husband has been her steadfast supporter and best friend, providing the understanding and encouragement she needed.

‘He is my rock and soul mate who inspires me to follow my dreams.’

Adri is also blessed with children and grandchildren who bring immense joy to her life.

‘My grandchildren have parents who love and support them with a balanced life and the freedom to develop as individuals,’ she says proudly.

This and that

She was born and raised in Parow North, Cape Town, as one of six children. Her fondest childhood memories revolve around holidays. She attended Parow North Primary School and matriculated at Tygerberg High School before studying education at the University of Stellenbosch.

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, decorating, and knitting. She has a particular fondness for setting beautiful tables for guests and collecting serviettes.

Her biggest role models in life are her husband and children, whom she admires for their hard work and dedication.

Adri’s vision for a better world centres on education. ‘I would change education to equip children to develop to their full potential,’ she says.

Leaving a legacy

As Adri prepares to retire at the end of 2025, she is focused on leaving a legacy of hard work and passion.

‘Be passionate about life, be caring and loving. Be a balanced person who is respectful towards others. Take a chance and be courageous. Just be the best you can be,’ she advises.


  • Do you prefer food, travel or art?


  • In what clique were you in school?

In the sport cliques.

  • Who is your hero?

My father and my husband.

  • Rain vs sunshine?


  • What is your ultimate spoil?

To travel overseas.

  • What do you most love about city life and living in Alberton?

You are close to all your needs.

  • What are your wardrobe must-haves?

A nice puff jacket and jeans.

  • What is your guilty pleasure?

Doing my nails.

  • What do you always have with you when you leave the house?

My sunglasses and my phone.

  • What is your favourite month?


  • What is your favourite season?


  • What is your favourite animal?

An elephant.

  • What is your favourite colour?


  • What is your favourite food?


  • What is your favourite word?


  • What is your favourite thing to do in the wintertime?

To sit in front of the fireplace.


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