Most of my talks at school have been at Private schools as they have the time, facilities and foresight to accomodate speakers.
The other day I had a conversation with a decision maker at the Western Cape Education department. I was suggesting that somehow we work together with me speaking at government schools to promote literacy-which is quite a topical issue in South Africa. Her response was that as the teachers were already under pressure to complete the allocated curriculum there was no time available during school hours for anything other than teaching according to the curriculum.
My opinion on educating the youth is to teach literacy, numeracy, creativity, self development as well as inspiring them to believe in themselves so that they have enough confidence to go after their dreams-whatever they may be.
Teachers, are under stress and as much as I respect them, alternative ideas should be embraced as not only does it give them a break and a different point of view, but it also breaks the monotony for the students while giving them a different viewpoint and hopefully inspiration on meeting people from other spheres of life that can pass on some first hand experience.
Promoting literacy is one of my missions. From the reviews from my talks, it seems that outside speakers do go along way to promote reading and inspiring pupils.
I just wish some of the decision makers could see that.
Elkanah House-Primary, Cape Town
Wow, Gary, everyone is raving about your talk!! Thank you sincerely for the wonderful inspirational talk you gave the pupils. The feedback we got from them was very positive. On behalf of Tracy, our headmistress, staff and pupils who have all asked me to convey their thanks and appreciation for your time and sound effort to get the pupils to read, which was a great success! You successfully got them gripped!!
I think you should market books and get paid for it. At break today, the library was filled to capacity!! The staffroom was abuzz after your presentation. THANK YOU sincerely.
Herzlia Highlands Primary School
This is probably one of the best launches we have ever had because Gary was able to convey the exact message that we needed to give the children – READ! READ! READ!
It is well known that children have a concentration span of about 20 mins and that is exactly how long Gary kept them riveted to their seats.
In a very matter of fact and relaxed manner as though he was having a friendly chat with the kids rather than trying to teach them something he told them all about how he had become hooked into reading and realized its importance. At the same time they were able to view his fabulous photographs of unusual places in other countries. He also gave a very strong message about setting goals for yourself and working towards realizing them.
Thank you very much for sharing your journey with us in such an interactive and illustrative manner. Your points about the importance of getting to know yourself and your values were so relevant, and tied in beautifully with what our girls are taught as part of their Life Orientation curriculum. Your beautiful photographs were an added pleasure and the girls were certainly left with the all important message that even their wildest dreams can become their reality. Thank you for inspiring us all to dream big!
LOF Teacher –Herschel Girls
Gary’s presentation was inspirational and informative. His casual yet sincere style immediately engaged our GET learners and he captivated and challenged them with his relevant message, anecdotes of his journey and beautiful photographs. We will certainly be inviting him back to address the rest of our learners!
School Counsellor- Parklands College
The high school was treated to a most inspiring talk by photographer and author of “The Magic that’s Ours” and “The Power that’s Ours” Gary Hirson last week. Mr. Hirson has previously been well received by the lower grades when he spoke to various groups about the importance of imagination and reading. In his most recent talk he emphasized to our high school children the importance of following your dreams; dreaming BIG; making
responsible decisions; setting goals and dealing with disappointment. His talk was accompanied by fabulous photographs he has taken on his numerous trips overseas.