2016 Essay Competition - View all entries

Factors I had Considered

Africa Masuku - Johannesburg, South Africa

In the world that we live in one encounters a proportion people who are good at different things, we have Mathematicians who are specialists at Maths, people who work in the corporate world and everyone in the employment line. However, I never really saw myself in an office position when I painted a picture of myself in the future, a colourful picture that had colourful experiences – I realised that I want to work closely with people of different needs, children to be precise, children who are at the receiving end of education.

What has influence me to become a teacher is the education system in my country, South Africa. Where there are a lack of teachers, where the system takes time to change what does not really benefit the learners, where the learning environment inhibits learners to fluently learn and where the government is trying to rectify the errors committed. As Maya Angelou stated and I quote but "We encounter many defeats we must not be defeated". And I want to be part of the change process, I want to feel every moment as the adjustments are made.

I want to change the lives of young men and women. I do not want to be an academic teacher solely however, I want to be a mentor for my learners I have touched while doing my job. I want to be a light and I want to light up the candles of the individual in my class. It may take time but with time comes great change.

Being a young respectful women who is still in the journey of self-discovery in heart I know that education is very important and it is the key to many locked doors by that. "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family" (Kofi Annan). In my Becoming a Teacher (BaT) lecture I have discovered a lot with the prior knowledge from high school, with what I have learned in higher education I know that as a teacher it is of utmost importance that you deliver knowledge to every learner in the most effective way possible as we learn differently.

Swami Sivanda said "The secret of life is not enjoyment but education through experience" – My philosophy in teaching is; Progressive African Philosophy, I believe no human can live alone, eat alone, read alone and write alone. The impact that Progressive African Philosophy has in the classroom is that; learners are free, there is mutual respect between peers and in turn every person will be able to communicate and collaborate with whomever in class. There is a culture of 'family' in class and that is associated with love, caring and trust. With all that as a teacher I will have to lead by example as I would be tackling real life problems and grooming future leaders.

In my first year doing my degree we were given a task of a statue: The statue my group and I created is a house – showing the front door opened; there are words that trigger one to actually see what is exactly behind the door. Behind the door are more words, phrases and quotes that best describes what a teacher is that includes pictures because pictures do carry a thousand words. There is a path that we created, a path of different colours leading to eternity because we do believe that 'a teachers influence never ends'.

Now in the first grade, one goes to school with knowledge gained spontaneously. The black theme that we have of our house is to symbolise the void teachers have to fill. Then we get into the door which we have equated with the door of hope, the door of many possibilities.

You get into the house – that's the beginning of one walking the path of acquiring education which is not easy. The colours are equated to the undesirable and progressive events that one experiences and with experience comes wisdom. As a teacher grooms a leaner because teachers groom doctors, engineers, therapists, artists and etc. The teacher is indeed the mother of all professions; the teacher's gives birth to all. "The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know" (Simone Weil)

There are so many words that describe what a teacher is and that is because of the good teachers that we had in primary and high school. Teachers who are dedicated and to highlight their influence I would conclude to say, they are the greatest influence in one's life; we meet different teachers for 12years who influence us differently, indirectly and directly.

With good teachers one can dream beyond their own imaginations. With bad teachers one can be a philosopher.

I have grown to what I was and thought I was yesterday. I now know that being a teacher is not about standing in front of leaners and delivering the content as per curriculum. Being a teacher you have to know the content, know how to transmit the content to learners who are devoted in learning. Plan everything, properly planning everything breeds confidence in everything that you do. Lastly, I believe confidence and attitude are contagious.