Gogo Mo’s “3 Things I Learnt on Sabbatical”

“Listen to your elder’s advice, not because they are always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong.” – Unknown author

One of our long-standing and much-loved team members has recently returned home after a two month sabbatical. Gogo Mo (known more formally as Maureen Groch) is a teacher, a mentor for our digital facilitators and the coordinator of Good Work Foundation’s Londolozi Digital Learning Centre.

In today’s blog, Gogo Mo shares three pieces of wisdom that she felt came back to her while she was away (she also shares her sabbatical reading list, which can be found below and is highly recommended).

These thoughts are not long, but we thought we’d take the time to share:

Rest is a necessity

The word “sabbatical” is derived from the word “sabbath” and refers to a period of rest. I always say that it is important to listen to your body. Your creativity, your lateral thinking, your ability to see things clearly all require that you rest, and that you find peace and enjoyment in rest.

Find stillness

Remember, rest does not mean “party” or “watch television” or “catch up on admin”. As necessary as it is to rest, it is as important to find stillness in that rest. In the words of the songwriter, singer and poet, Leonard Cohen, find stillness so that you may “see things more clearly and love more dearly.” I am also reminded of the words of GWF Trustee, Boyd Varty, from his article What City Slickers can Learn from Bush Dwellers: “We need more firelight and candlelight – more occasions and environments that facilitate the gentle transmission of intimacy.”

 Think about the path less travelled

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
I took the one less travelled by
And that made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

There have been times in my life where I have had to be brave and choose the path that is less travelled. And here’s a surprise – I’m still taking the road less travelled. As a professional educator I believe the way of real progress in education will be achieved by following the path less travelled. A very different model is needed as we move into the future with hope and possibilities for a better world. That model needs to make learning addictive, just as addictive as the Internet, television, apps and online games. I may be a kokwani, but I know all about “learning in the cloud” and to get there, I have had to adapt and make some decisions that aren’t always conventional.

To summarise, through investing in rest and finding stillness, I have been able to walk with more courage down the road less travelled.

Here’s Gogo Mo’s sabbatical reading list:

Iyer, Pico. The Art of Stillness – Adventures in Going Nowhere
Backman, Frederik. A Man Called Ove
Diamandis, Peter & Kottler, Steven. Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think
Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Gift from the Sea
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist


Gogo Mo Groch at the Londolozi Celebration of Learning in November 2014.