Why did you decide to become an educator? It was a God-given calling, which I’d previously ignored by studying electrical engineering. While doing so, I had great maths and science teachers, Mr Maboyi and Mr Lindani, who truly unlocked my potential and made education easy and fun. I realised the importance of becoming an educator and doing the same for others.
What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching? The goose-bumpy, tingling feeling I get when a pupil understands a concept. Not all pupils are on the same level, but if I can make each of them realise their own potential, then I know I’ve done my job.
How do balance your work and home life? I’m a woman, so I can multi-task! Seriously, though, between my job at Torah Academy and MoHappy Mathematicians, studying and my personal life, I just pray to get through it all. My parents are pillars of strength and constantly support me in all avenues of my life. I also rely on hard work and perseverance. One has to keep pushing, no matter how difficult things may seem.
What’s your biggest challenge as a female teacher? I haven’t really experienced any at Torah Academy. When I first started teaching there, I was the only black female teacher – but that awareness quickly faded with all the love and support I received from both my colleagues and pupils.
What do you hope to achieve? I hope to eradicate the belief among pupils that 30% is an acceptable pass mark. I want to teach them to exceed their reach so that they can enter universities without any difficulty.
What are common misconceptions about the education industry? That teachers teach the same thing every year. In fact, even if the syllabus remains the same, every day presents a new topic with different challenges. Methods of teaching also change every day.
What’s your go-to working outfit? Since I work at a religious Jewish school, I’m required to cover my elbows, knees and shoulders. Whatever I wear has to conform to that.
By Mpumi Shandu