THERE IS STILL HOPE WITH COMMITTED, REPUTABLE AND DIGNIFIED YOUNG TEACHERS
Article by Linford Molaodi
The South African education system is gradually being taken over by the sweet storm of young teachers, known to the elderly educators as “maFundza” (the Fundza Lushaka bursary beneficiaries). Critiques against these young teachers’ practices are prevalent amongst elderly teachers, principals and education leaders across the country. The Fundza beneficiaries are generally said to be lazy, hard-headed, ill-mannered and possess Aweak pedagogical content knowledge.
Young Teachers vs the old guard
Nonetheless, Phenyo Koka, Zamokuhle Mthethwa, Ntwanano Concern Mabunda, Musa Chauke, Tshegofatso Matjila and Thabo Thabane; prove the misconceptions against young teachers wrong through their passionate, enthusiastic and dignified pedagogical practices. Based in their distinct geographical locations and schools comprising of learners with varied learning difficulties and cultural capitals; these extra-ordinary educational practitioners shine beyond basic typical teacher boundaries.
With only 6 years in the profession, Phenyo Koka, a teacher at Dikubu Primary School. Competing with other provinces, the proud Limpopo teacher attained position 1 in the category of Excellence in Primary Teaching. She won a Ranault Kwid, voucher for online digital training sessions, training, mentorship and conference participation.
Young teachers come to work field with thoughts of wanting to make an impact and leave a remarkable mark. Unlike the old colleagues, we are energetic and always want to be noticed that we exist within our work stations.
We are always eager to learn from the experienced, bring about and adopt new relevant ideas and prove ourselves capable. Most of us are physically fit and can meet our job demands.
We strive to build ourselves a legacy and better future so that we can enjoy the benefits of our labour at a later stage. However, the old teachers are always
looking at their watch, hoping the time could run faster so they can go home and rest. They are often comfortable with their “old and usual” ways of doing things, and do not want to try out new ideas.
We have a better understanding of the learners’ ways of thinking
since we are young ourselves and can relate well with them. A school full of young teachers can be fruitful.
We are all born for a purpose on earth. None of us was born a mistake. It is funny how we grow up picking careers in our heads,and end up doing something different. Ending up being a teacher is a purpose and with it comes faith for this role.
It is not that easy to accept the shift; however the beautiful things about this is that we are where we are because we are capable to make an impact.
In you are all tools to make things happen. Expecting our peers or government to come through for us is normal, but does it empower us? Does it open room for us to gain knowledge and skills? Does it grow us intellectually? Well, it does not. Instead it teaches us to always complain and not be responsible.
We therefore, shift the blame when things seem to fall apart. Complaining about an overcrowded classroom and ill-disciplined learners while we fold our arms and wait for government to come through will not take our problems away.
We have the love, patience, and understanding that are already invested in us for such times as these; where a teacher will look at their learners as his own children and guide them with love and patience. This earth is so big for the government to meet all its needs. After all, we are the government. Positive change must come from us. My future plan is to mentor other teachers or be a lecturer.
Ntwanano Concern Mabunda
The 27 year old teacher, Ntwanano, who matriculated at N’wanati High School in Makahlule village, his place of birth in Limpopo has gained recognition through his commitment to Collaborative Learning and teaching strategy. This year, Ntwanano is participating in community of practice with 5 different continents that constitute emancipated educators.
Due to us moving into the fourth industrial revolution; young teachers are prone to be more technologically advanced than older educators. This then results in principals and management having a phobia of being replaced and seen as inferior than the young generation; more especially when it comes to the scale and quick pace at which technology is being introduced in schools. Moreover, there are certain stereotypes attached to young educators’ work ethic.
Young educators are perceived as lazy and more prone to negative media attached to schools. However, I feel as though this sets us back as a developing nation. Growth and development of young educators is prohibited as they are given little trust and opportunities to exercise their teaching profession.
South Africa, as a developing country, is bound to have some imbalances; most of them being economical. Most schools do not have teaching and learning material; however that should never be an excuse to prohibit teaching and learning. During lesson preparations, an educator should develop strategies to deliver content irrespective of barriers created by lack of resources.
Multiple teaching strategies should be developed to enhance learner performance. Technology introduced in some schools is a mere implementation to increase content delivery and learning. However, this does not mean that learners who were taught without the use of smartboard are less knowledgeable. I want to touch the world and teach. I want to develop my MASTERIT company that foster collaborative learning and help educators in South Africa master collaborative teaching and learning. This will also help educators to stay connected globally and share teaching skills. Already, we are in in the 4th Industrial Revolution; so technology is our future and this means that we should all be emancipated about technology in order to adapt to the changing environment.
Born and raised in Newcastle in Kwa-Zulu natal, Zamokuhle Mthethwa goes beyond curriculum jurisdiction. The 25 year old is an IT teacher and ICT coordinator at Sandringham High School in Johannesburg. Zamokuhle founded an organisation ITeachGirlsHowToCode; strictly focused on Grade 10 to 12 learners of her school; most of whom come from Alexandra Township.
Young teachers are not there to take their positons. Most of the School Management Team (SMT) members think that young educators, the “Fundza Lushakas” are there to change the school curriculum or take their jobs. My response to them is that they must grant us permission and trust us to bring new teaching strategies to our teaching. There is a lot we can learn from each other if we work as a team and share ideas.
Where there is a will, there is a way. If you really want to do something good for your school, you will have to work hard and find a way to achieve it.
Personally I want to see more interning coding projects coded by my girls.
Also known as Dr Chaks, the 26 year old is a teacher at Mphethi Mahlatsi Secondary School, based in Orange Farm, Johannesburg South. With only 3 years in teaching Musa is already the Head of Department for Science and Technology in his school.
Principals and managers are blessed to be working with younger teachers because these young teachers come to school with new information that they have acquired from university. Such skills involve ICT knowledge and game-based learning in sciences. It is imperative that experienced teachers work together or share ideas with young ones.
I would advise young teachers that we are the governors of our classrooms. If it happens that a school you are teaching at has no resources we have to come up with strategies; by that will enable learners to grasp the concepts. The use of shoe-string approach in a classroom can be a solution to lack of science equipment. My aim is to mould Sciemax so we can impact so many disadvantaged kids who wish to make maths and science. Complete my master’s degree; and register for PHD (Let us make education fashionable) and continue to challenge the education system to consider integrating indigenous knowledge and western sciences in the curriculum. 😁😁 baba, I will be the youngest principal.
Born in Ga-Rankuwa, Thabo is a Mathematics educator who had previously acted as the Head of Department of Mathematics and Science at the Kibler Park Secondary. Thabo was chosen as a leader for Twining program of 3 schools in Johannesburg South District: Elethu Themba, Kibler Park and Moses Marone Secondary schools. His role was to assist the schools in improving learner performance in Mathematics.
The principal and SMT should not develop any anxiety or phobia against young teachers. Instead, they must be willing to share experiences and skills. Collaborative work between young educators and SMTs will always assist everyone to keep up with the signs of time; especially with regard to the use of ICTs in the school to manage work. It will also assist all teachers to able to develop learners using different styles. Managers just have to make sure they follow their line of duty and young educators should also do the same.
Like in any working place; there will always be expectations between the employer and employee especially when coming to issues of labour. The university or teacher colleges can prepare you when coming to skills to help you do certain work; however, it is everyone’s responsibility to be creative as they encounter challenges. We need to learn from our experiences in order to manage work and overcome obstacles. Young teachers get involved in teacher development
workshops like subject content training; sports and cultural activities
at school; discipline and policy development, SGB forums, etc. Those platforms come with lots of opportunities for young teachers to be able to close the gaps. They also help officials to be able to help government with working solutions to avoid blaming games. Parents, learners and educators are stakeholders who know what is best for them; I would like to adopt schools for mentorship programs. I wish to start my own school. It high time young professionals give back to the communities of South Africa; so that we work on economic emancipation that will benefit all of us. I also would start to work on scare skills career and business career expo which is on paper for now. Lastly school fitness awareness day which will incorporate families and learners.
Born in Rustenburg, North West; Tshegofatso has attained position 2 in the 19th National Teaching Awards in the category of Excellence in the ICT-Enhanced learning and teaching. Tshegofatso trains educators in his school and sub-district, Kagisano-Molopo on ICT infusion. He also hosts annual career guidance workshops with learners in primary schools and high schools; a movement which aims at introducing learners to different fields such as IT, Robotics and Engineering. As an activist; the 28 year old also hosts awareness campaigns on women empowerment and supplies learners in the community with sanitary towels monthly.
Teaching as a profession has developed so much over the years in South Africa. From the apartheid regime (Bantu education); to multiple curriculum alterations and the old traditional way of teaching (narrative, question and answer) to incorporating ICT in the classroom for effective teaching and learning. Change can be intimidating, but an educator must adapt to all the changes in the department so as to make provision of quality teaching for all our learners.
Many educators, principals and or senior managers in schools have been in the system for decades and seeing as technology is growing at such an exponential rate, many have found it as a challenge to utilise the apparatus in their institutions. The incoming educators are technologically advanced and try new teaching strategies to help improve the quality of education provided by in our schools. This poses as a challenge for some senior management educators and is part of the leading causes that develop phobia and anxiety in our SMT’s – School Management
Teams against young and energetic teachers.
The primary purpose of all educational institutions is to provide quality teaching and learning for the African child. A true leader has the ability to inspire those around them and is also inspired by them. Team work makes the dream work.
It is of paramount importance that senior managers learn from young educators and vice versa so as to meet the objectives of the Department of Basic Education. An educator is a life-long learner and should not be intimidated by anyone working smarter/ diligently than them, but rather be inspired by them to produce quality work. An educator never stops learning, so instead of competing, we as teachers must connect – work cohesively to contribute towards improving the quality of life and building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic South Africa.
The government has over the years initiated various programmes and policies to help improve the educational system in our country.
We are not where we were, and we are not where we want to be yet. The system, with all its flaws has seen a huge improvement over the years. It is not solely up to the government to help improve the system, but it goes back to all individuals employed by the education fraternity in all its various sectors to come up with different strategies that will help bring about growth and improvement in the education system of the country.
I believe in taking action, being strategic and manoeuvring around challenges more than complaining about anything. When a challenge arises, we must learn to find means to overcome it, rather than creating a bigger one by being negative.
My advice to young upcoming educators, first of all, be the educator that you wish you had when you were still a learner. Others will walk with you along this journey, but no one can ever walk it for you. As an educator you are entrusted with a life of a learner, you are responsible for guiding and building that learner in totality.
Never let anyone discourage you with what the almighty has blessed you with, the blessing of being a teacher. Always remember that you have been given a gift to teach, and one thing about gifts is that they are not for self-absorption. There are challenges in all spheres of life, do not listen to anyone who just wants to keep blaming the government for every negative situation, but doesn’t do anything to help alleviate the challenges.
Be the solution and don’t be part of the problem when you enter the system. Passion, diligence, love and compassion will help you leave a legacy in this world. Surround yourself with individuals who are driven by the need to provide quality teaching and learning, no matter what may arise. We all want to live in a better country, and always remember that, “the child who is not embraced by the village, will burn it down.”
As a teacher, I know that the minute I stop learning, I can no longer be able to teach. Short term goals involve applying for my honours in education with a major in ICT education. I am in the process of starting an ICT club with some of my colleagues so as to help learners with no access to technology, to be able to utilise the apparatus in school.
I will continue to be an ambassador for the incorporation of ICT in class and help more educators on how to fully implement technology in class for effective teaching and learning. Utilize 4IR to alleviate some of the challenges experienced in our communities.
I am currently working on a project with my learners, an awareness campaign for women and children abuse and how we can alleviate such ills in our society.
I will continue with my annual career guidance workshop for my current and former learners to help them make better decisions and have a bright future. I have future plans, of starting my own NGO to help the disadvantaged
with regard to the use of technology and work with various organisations to make provision of donations of food parcels, clothes, etc. for learners in rural areas. The NGO will also assist the girl learners in our community with sanitary pads, career guidance and show them that they are capable of taking any route they are passionate about, especially ones that were initially classified as male dominated industries i.e. engineering, robotics, IT, etc.