A message from Senior Deputy Head, Mr Talke: Coping with LOCKDOWN | Maritzburg College

A message from Senior Deputy Head, Mr Talke: Coping with LOCKDOWN

A message from Senior Deputy Head, Mr Talke: Coping with LOCKDOWN

Maritzburg College Young Man, how are you really??

HOLIDAY! Yeah! At first, the lockdown announcement coincided with the March holiday. So you were in a holiday frame of mind and ready for some proper action –  friends getting together, travels to far off places of fun, beach and a bit of April sun, bring outdoors and biking or fishing on the farm…

Then the holiday was extended… for you and others, an extended break seemed marvellous, to say the least. The real reason for the longer ‘holiday’ was way back in your mind, and the work the teachers dumped on you was certainly not uppermost in your thinking and feeling. Little did you know that you and your emotions would soon enter a Roller Coaster called COVID -19.

Maritzburg College Young Man, how are you really?

LOCKDOWN! This announcement in the first week of your holiday changed everything. Joy turned to anger, frustration and worry. You and the people around you were challenged into something none of us have ever experienced before. For you and many other College boys the most painful part of the coronavirus crisis might be losing out on important experiences; the high school winter season, Red Army victories on Papes Astro, the epic Goldstones battles and late afternoon Jimeloyo’s echoing a first XV success, theatre productions, College memories being made, less time remaining to banter in the quads and classrooms. Some of you will be worried about missing activities to help with your academic futures, university applications and scholarships. And while we’re all missing out on very valued activities, it’s especially problematic for our senior boys, the Sixth Formers, leaders’ and shouting captains as 2020’s new frontiers will be limited by the pandemic.

So, Maritzburg College Young Man, how are you really?

Nothing lasts forever. And everything in life is just temporary—both the good times and the bad times. It’s how we choose to react to these periods in our lives and how we decide to let them build our character and shape us, that truly creates a stronger, better PEOPLE.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” – Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)

Surviving a difficult time is truly a choice. It is the most difficult times in our lives that truly test our faith in God. Have faith young man!

So, Maritzburg College Young Man, how are you really? Grab your Mentor book and look for a page where you can write down what you are feeling and thinking. This is where the hours spent in the Character Education lesson pays off, and become real life! Tell yourself it’s okay to feel anxious right now. It’s okay to feel scared. It’s okay to feel angry. You’re accepting the feelings you have and validating them because we’re all having those feelings. It’s really important that you accept them as they are, rather than fighting them. Talk about it and discuss it with your older brother a friend or a family member. Don’t bottle up your feelings.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re experiencing a tough situation. However, what you may be experiencing now is forcing you to be stronger and moulding you into a better person. Once again the Character Education lessons come alive and real with this pandemic. COURAGE is a College Value and a topic that was meant to covered this term. Now we have the opportunity to live and grow our courage! Nelson Mandela said “…I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” The biggest lessons we learn in life aren’t in the classroom but from your own personal obstacles and challenges. Every day is a life lesson and there are certainly lessons in adversity.

You and parents are feeling pressured and confused about how cope with remote learning. Keeping up with expectations from school can be challenging. You might be completely overwhelmed trying to figure out how to structure a remote schooling day. Make use of the resources teachers have placed on social and educational media platforms. Communicate with your teachers! Create a realistic schedule for getting work done in defined periods, building in breaks and times for socializing, exercising and entertainment. The key principle; do a session of work first, then reward yourself with something relaxing. Keep in mind that it’s not going to be as effective as school, but it will become more effective over time as everyone on the school front, as well as the home front, works to improve remote learning.

When we are under chronically difficult conditions, it’s very helpful to divide the problem into two categories; things I can do something about, and things I can do nothing about. There is a lot that falls under that second category right now, and that’s okay, but one thing that helps us to deal with that is creating structured activities for ourselves. Structure a day to day routine; exercise, do your academics, eat healthy, start learning a new skill, watching a favourite movie or read, get enough sleep. Chat and bond with friends on social media, friends are hugely important as peers have different ways of dealing with the current situation.

Having your family members around more often can feel overwhelming or create strain. Families will need to diffuse tensions in the home with parents and siblings, because everyone is going to be more stressed out. Everyone should be contributing in some way. This is the ideal time to do some ‘dad bonding’. Help him with chores washing the car, mowing the lawn, braai the meat, take interest in his work. Ask him about his school days. Listen to family stories. He is also under pressure. Mom has a lot on her hands. Help where you can. Help your younger brothers and sisters coping. Play games, assist with homework. Your words can make a difference; now more than ever we need to be thoughtful about what we share or say that may hurt others. Enjoy being together as a family and sharing in family love!

Look for inspiration and opportunity. It’s all around you. Whatever you are going through, know that this too shall pass. You are not alone in your feelings and your experience.


“So, Maritzburg College Young Man, how are you really? “


 Ingo M Talke
Senior Deputy Headmaster
17 April 2020