Why did you decide to become an educator? I want to be a part of teaching our future leaders through equipping them with the values, skills and knowledge they need to become contributing citizens of our nation. I love working with my students and serving as an example that no dream is too big for them to achieve.

How do balance your work and home life? I try to get most of my work done at work so that I don’t need to take it home and can spend time with my family and friends. Being able to socialise and slay for the ‘gram is just as important as completing my PhD thesis and marking students’ work.

What’s your biggest challenge as a female lecturer? As the youngest female in my department, my biggest challenge is commanding respect from my students. Some of them are older than me and have more teaching experience. However, I can still teach them on a different level in a professional way.

What do you hope to achieve as an educator? Positive change, not only in the classroom, but in the education system at large. I aim to do this through implementing practices and policies that support my recent PhD research thesis on mentorship for novice teachers in the Foundation Phase. I also want to use my #SeeYouAtGraduation campaign to motivate my students to work hard and obtain their degrees.

What are common misconceptions about the education industry? That teaching is a calling. In fact, it’s a profession into which we invest a lot of effort, time and money. We spend four years attaining a bachelor’s degree and learning skills and theory that we need to apply in the classroom. I’m now busy studying for my fourth degree, with the aim of attaining my doctorate. This isn’t easy.

What’s your go-to working outfit? In winter, I wear jackets and coats, as they’re both stylish and warm and I can easily dress them up or down, depending on my schedule for the day.

– Mpumi Shandu