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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Winging It is the poignant, tender and at times downright funny story of Jonathan Kaplan’s decision to have a baby by surrogate

Jonathan Kaplan, celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps, had his fair share of challenging moments on the field.

He was known for his commitment to fair play, ability to defuse tense situations, and courage in making difficult, and sometimes controversial, decisions. All this would stand JK in good stead and come back into play when, at the age of 47, he made two life-changing decisions.

The first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a parent – and a solo parent at that. This is the story of JK’s decision to have a baby by surrogate, the two-year fertility process that followed, and the subsequent birth of his son Kaleb.

Winging It draws on the insights of key role-players in JK’s journey, including the extraordinary experience of the surrogate mother herself. Exchanging rucks for reflux, mauls for milk bottles, scrums for storks (and other stories about Kaleb’s conception), this account of how JK navigates the choppy waters of parenthood is disarmingly frank and scrupulously honest.

At times poignant and tender, and at others downright funny, this is a thoroughly contemporary take on what constitutes a family and how we dare to build one.

Joanne Jowell is the author of the bestselling biographies On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (2009), Finding Sarah: A True Story of Living with Bulimia (2011) and The Crazy Life of Larry Joe: A Journey on the Streets and Stage (2014). She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.

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Video: Marc Falconer on How to Equip Children to Take Their Place in the 21st Century

Notes From A Headmaster's DeskMarc Falconer, author of Notes From A Headmaster’s Desk: The Challenges of Education, Parenting and Teenagers, spoke to Sam Marshall on Morning Live about his book and his insights from his life in education.

Falconer is a parent, a teacher and a headmaster. He says that he wrote this book to try and align the expectations of parents and educators. He believes that this is important because the role of parents who are active in their children’s learning is vital to make education the best it can be. This in turn is essential so that children can become people who take their place as useful, critical thinkers in the 21st century.

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Video: Marc Falconer on the Need to Change the Use of Technology in Education

Notes From A Headmaster's DeskMarc Falconer, who is currently the headmaster of King David High School Linksfield, spoke to Polity‘s Shannon de Ryhove about his recently published book, Notes From A Headmaster’s Desk: The Challenges of Education, Parenting and Teenagers.

Falconer tells De Ryhove that the book was developed from a series of newsletters he wrote, that he was encouraged to collect into a more permanent form by some of the parents. Discussing the problems in South Africa’s education system, Falconer says that technology needs to be used “in a much more intelligent way to deliver texts, to provide teaching resources, to provide access to knowledge”.

He also suggests that South Africa needs to “move away from teachers being providers of knowledge and more towards teachers being highly-trained, highly-qualified, highly-passionate professionals”.

“Children are, I think, optimistic by nature, they look forward, they look to the future, they’re not burdened by the same problems adults are and they get up to some really hilarious things,” Falconer says, commenting on how privileged he feels to work with them on a daily basis.

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Join Marc Falconer for the Launch of Notes From A Headmaster’s Desk at Love Books

Notes From A Headmaster's Desk: The Challenges of Education, Parenting and TeenagersLove Books and Pan Macmillan invite you to the launch of Notes from a Headmaster’s Desk, by Marc Falconer.

Falconer is the first non-Jewish headmaster at King David High School Linksfield (Johannesburg), and Notes from a Headmaster’s Desk is a timeous and insightful book that looks at the challenges of education, parenting and teenagers.

The event will take place at Love Books on Tuesday, 20 May at 6 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 20 May 2014
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408

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The Lighter Side of Educating Teenagers: Marc Falconer’s Notes From A Headmaster’s Desk

Notes From A Headmaster's DeskNew from Pan Macmillan, Marc Falconer’s entertaining and thought-provoking Notes From A Headmaster’s Desk: The Challenges of Education, Parenting and Teenagers:

Falconer is the first non-Jewish headmaster at King David High School Linksfield (Johannesburg) since its establishment in 1955. From his position as both headmaster and parent he provides behind-the-scenes anecdotes and insights into the true state of the nation’s schools and educators as well as into the mysterious workings of teenage minds, interpreting situations that he encounters on a daily basis.

Falconer provides a humorous look at some of the issues he has come across and the experiences he has had in order to to remind readers that, at the end of the day, as much as we worry about education in South Africa and how to mould our children into the upstanding members of the community we envision them to be, the journey does not have to be painstakingly difficult. Ultimately, if we equip them with the right set of skills and attitudes, our children will turn out just fine as they are more resilient than we realise.

“On this fraught journey with the pressure of our country’s future and the lives of our children at stake, a sense of humour does help to keep the trip in perspective. ‘Life is’, as Oscar Wilde said, ‘much too important to take seriously’” – From Falconer’s preface

About the Author

Marc Falconer has been involved in private schooling for the greater portion of his life, having previously taught at Thomas More in Kloof (KwaZulu-Natal) and at a host of independent schools in the UK and New Zealand. When he returned to South Africa he taught in the English Department and then headed the A-Level College at St Stithians. He was appointed headmaster of King David High School in January 2005.

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