Shape and Skills at School: South Africa #Teacher Tuesday

22 Apr

To get your students to score. Time and again. To get to 100%. This is what every teacher dreams of achieving. When it is year 12, and it is time for them to prove that they are worthy, we want our students to succeed. 

Shape from South Africa has done that and has received awards for it. As she says, 

“I was awarded the best teacher in 2012 for the whole province because of the dedication that I am displaying. This is my 21styear in teaching.” 

Experience does count. Teachers who have been in the profession longer not only understand the examination system, can navigate school systems better, but also have handled so many incidents, moods and motivations that they almost seem to feel their way through the minds of children effortlessly. It is not effortless. Making students high achievers regardless of their background is hard work. It takes technique and it takes time. I hear her, and every teacher who has invested in their students will nod in agreement when she says,

“In all my teaching I give 100% because I always take extra time. I give extra lessons after others go home. I remain with year 12 to teach them again, to make sure that those who did not understand, later do understand everything.Some of them are still struggling especially in terms of writing and pronunciation. That is why I am giving extra lessons. My extra lessons to help them catch up and to give them some things they have never been taught before.”

I repeat – as they never have been taught before. 

This is what good teaching is about. Teach the student according to their needs. Not according to what the books have prescribed. Ensure that the curriculum works for them, is understood and can be applied as required. If the task is the examination, help them work to ace the exam. If the task is to learn for life, then teach in that manner. Teach so that the student learns. Teaching is not about the teacher, it is about the energy and connect with the student’s goals. 

Shape teaches class 12, the last year of school. She knows that this is their examination year, but it goes beyond that too. 

“After grade 12, it is their final years and we need to prepare them to go to universities or colleges so I need to ensure they’re ready to face the outside world.” 

So how does she do that? 

I’m not only focusing on the curriculum. I’m also involved in the sports. I’m the technical official for the athletics in South Africa and I started the first choir for the school and for 3 otherschools. I make sure they have a holistic education.

I’m also involved in job/career experience. We invite companiesthat are the same as the career the learners, have chosen to come to our school and talk to them. They come to school and after we identify the children who can go to them and do some work to be familiar with the outside world. They go to work for a day as managers or whatever. When they come back they are able to tell us of the challenges, then the companies come again to give them more knowledge.”

When teachers look beyond the curriculum to the connect with the real world, they bring meaning into their classrooms. This is what Shape has managed to do. This, despite many problems including discipline issues and teen pregnancies in her class. As many teachers of her vintage do, she does agree that new regulations – and new times – make it difficult for her to impose discipline, but is also optimistic about new policies. She tells her students that they are the eyes of the community and teachers them to engage with the local community and work for them. 

The range of things that she does is immense – from home skills to business skills and community service. 

“We also teach the children home skills. We teach them how to cook and keep their houses clean, physical education, how to prepare for their futures” 

“I always tell them they are the eyes of the community. If there is someone struggling to fill in a form in a bank, you are the ones to help.”

“We teach them business skills, we have business projects. They learn how to write a business plan. We buy some products/stock and they sell them to other learners and teachers and take money. They need to learn how much money to take from people and how much to then save. People from banks come to assist them to open bank accounts so that they can save money.”

Shape clearly has an eye on the future. She works with them to figure out careers, pathways, money and more. Volunteering is a natural progression to careers for her and she invites students to come and work in the library to train for the future. 

As with every good teacher with a holistic view there is so much more to Shape and her world view. But these words resonate – 

“I chose myself that I would work hard. It’s not about where you are from. Ask yourself what is it you want to be, how am I going to change my family? You are the one who must reach out and change things.”

Teachers for change. Teachers can change the world. 

To get your students to score. Time and again. To get to 100%. This is what every teacher dreams of achieving. When it is year 12, and it is time for them to prove that they are worthy, we want our students to succeed. 

Shape from South Africa has done that and has received awards for it. As she says, 

“I was awarded the best teacher in 2012 for the whole province because of the dedication that I am displaying. This is my 21styear in teaching.” 

Experience does count. Teachers who have been in the profession longer not only understand the examination system, can navigate school systems better, but also have handled so many incidents, moods and motivations that they almost seem to feel their way through the minds of children effortlessly. It is not effortless. Making students high achievers regardless of their background is hard work. It takes technique and it takes time. I hear her, and every teacher who has invested in their students will nod in agreement when she says,

“In all my teaching I give 100% because I always take extra time. I give extra lessons after others go home. I remain with year 12 to teach them again, to make sure that those who did not understand, later do understand everything.Some of them are still struggling especially in terms of writing and pronunciation. That is why I am giving extra lessons. My extra lessons to help them catch up and to give them some things they have never been taught before.”

I repeat – as they never have been taught before. 

This is what good teaching is about. Teach the student according to their needs. Not according to what the books have prescribed. Ensure that the curriculum works for them, is understood and can be applied as required. If the task is the examination, help them work to ace the exam. If the task is to learn for life, then teach in that manner. Teach so that the student learns. Teaching is not about the teacher, it is about the energy and connect with the student’s goals. 

Shape teaches class 12, the last year of school. She knows that this is their examination year, but it goes beyond that too. 

“After grade 12, it is their final years and we need to prepare them to go to universities or colleges so I need to ensure they’re ready to face the outside world.” 

So how does she do that? 

I’m not only focusing on the curriculum. I’m also involved in the sports. I’m the technical official for the athletics in South Africa and I started the first choir for the school and for 3 otherschools. I make sure they have a holistic education.

I’m also involved in job/career experience. We invite companiesthat are the same as the career the learners, have chosen to come to our school and talk to them. They come to school and after we identify the children who can go to them and do some work to be familiar with the outside world. They go to work for a day as managers or whatever. When they come back they are able to tell us of the challenges, then the companies come again to give them more knowledge.”

When teachers look beyond the curriculum to the connect with the real world, they bring meaning into their classrooms. This is what Shape has managed to do. This, despite many problems including discipline issues and teen pregnancies in her class. As many teachers of her vintage do, she does agree that new regulations – and new times – make it difficult for her to impose discipline, but is also optimistic about new policies. She tells her students that they are the eyes of the community and teachers them to engage with the local community and work for them. 

The range of things that she does is immense – from home skills to business skills and community service. 

“We also teach the children home skills. We teach them how to cook and keep their houses clean, physical education, how to prepare for their futures” 

“I always tell them they are the eyes of the community. If there is someone struggling to fill in a form in a bank, you are the ones to help.”

“We teach them business skills, we have business projects. They learn how to write a business plan. We buy some products/stock and they sell them to other learners and teachers and take money. They need to learn how much money to take from people and how much to then save. People from banks come to assist them to open bank accounts so that they can save money.”

Shape clearly has an eye on the future. She works with them to figure out careers, pathways, money and more. Volunteering is a natural progression to careers for her and she invites students to come and work in the library to train for the future. 

As with every good teacher with a holistic view there is so much more to Shape and her world view. But these words resonate – 

“I chose myself that I would work hard. It’s not about where you are from. Ask yourself what is it you want to be, how am I going to change my family? You are the one who must reach out and change things.”

Teachers for change. Teachers can change the world. 

There is more on skills in sub-Saharan Africa in the EFA Report – charts, data and analysis.

Previous Posts on Skills:

Do Employers Know What They Want

http://forbesindia.com/blog/economy-policy/do-employers-know-what-they-want/

and more.

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