Nompumelelo Cynthia Shange a powerhouse in classroom and community.

By: Pearl Nonhlanhla Langa

One of the most rewarding things one can do is to impart knowledge onto a young emerging mind. History has proven that teachers are the greatest inspirations of all time.

Teachers are able to strike a change in a child’s life when they least expect it. They are not “knowers of all”; but their life lessons; time and dedication always have a lasting impact in one’s life.

They see potential in us; that others, including ourselves cannot see. Teachers pave paths that prove life to be a possible journey even when others perceive it as impossible.

Community

In this term’s publication; we celebrate a young teacher who comes from the humble beginnings of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Against all odds; she was able to strike a change in the community of Msinga by creating academic success in two under-performing schools.

Nompumelelo Cynthia Shange is a Life Sciences educator at Bhekabantu Secondary School in Msinga, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

She has been employed as an educator for the Department of Basic Education since the year 2016; and from her time of employment, she was able to change how learners viewed the Life Sciences subject.

Nompumelelo was initially disappointed todiscover that learners were not doing well in this subject; and was often concerned about the low matric pass rate.

She saw this as an opportunity to strike a change in this school; and also help learners reach the highest potential.

Ms Shange describes Bhekabantu Secondary School as a school that is lacking in basic resources; and points this out as one of the reasons learners and teachers are demotivated.

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Over the past three years she has changed the school’s milieu by attempting to make learners develop a sense of love for education; more especially the Life Sciences subject.

She has done this through simple gestures like; praising learners when they have done well and going the extra mile to ensure that they understand the learning content.

Nompumelelo Shange applies various methodology to ensure that all her learners get the desired outcome at the end of every academic year.

She uses the Department of Education’s Assessment Task Plan (ATP); and Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) as her point of departure. This documentation assists her with the successful coverage of the years’ syllabus. She uses past and present question papers to assist learners with standardized testing techniques.

These ensure that learners understand how they are to respond in nationalized examinations.

Community

Ms Shange also refers learners to the Life Sciences “big trees” and theorists to ensure that they understand the origin of the content that they are taught; and how they can apply this in real and true life contexts.

Apart from her great academic focus; Ms Shange encourages learners to share their goals and aspirations with her during class time.

She uses this to help learners model real and accomplishable goals for themselves and their communities.

Nompumelelo is a power house both in the classroom and her community. When neighbouring schools realized that she is able to strike academic change; they immediately started seeking her expertise.

Ms Shange teaches in various schools in her community at no extra charge. On weekdays; she rises early so she can teach learners from a neighbouring school and then rush off to her place of employment. She conducts extra Life Sciences classes at her own home to learners in her neighbourhood, also at no charge.

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Her undying efforts have led to both Bhekabantu Secondary School and her neighbouring school achieving 100% pass-rate for Life Sciences in Matric.

Ms Shange was able to change Bhekabantu’s low 44% pass-rate in Life Sciences to a staggering 100%. She has proven to teachers in her community that passion is what truly drives us.

Not only has she changed the learners’ perspective about the subject but she has ensured that every learner she teaches passes her subject. Ms Shange has been recognised and awarded as the best teacher in Msinga for the year 2019.

One would assume that it takes a miracle to have all learners do well academically, but Ms Shange has proven that persistence, hard work and passion are the perfect recipe to making a real change in a child’s life.

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