My journey into the classroom

By admin
09 October 2013

Our second education blogger Reyanah Manuel, who teaches at a primary school, introduces herself and shares how she got into teaching.

Teaching was never part of my plan. When I was younger, I was asked if I was going to be a teacher like Dad or a banker like Mom. But the thought of marking and screaming and dealing with a class full of kids who were probably thinking up at least five ways to aggravate the teacher every hour was not appealing at all.

No, teaching was not for me, I had a different plan or two. After school I studied for a diploma in building and added a year of civil engineering which I stopped because I had the chance to spend some time in England. When I returned, I completed a year of a BA degree in environmental studies and then worked in the building industry for a short period. And that’s when I realised I was not built for office work.

It dawned on me I was not enjoying what I was doing. I was frustrated that I wasn’t having any impact on the world I lived in, I felt without purpose and this forced me to re-evaluate my choices about my future. Did I continue in the building industry, continue with my BA degree or start something new from scratch? I know that my choices could be seen as selfish and spoilt when there are many people battling to afford to study in just one field. All that I can say is that my parents in their infinite wisdom had patience and knew me better than I did.

After my realisation of what I needed in my life, my Dad sat me down and suggested education may be the career for me. My response was a not so subtle “What!” Really, after all the dodging and time spent getting away from it, how could this be the ideal career? It made no sense at all. Dad, being his unflappable, calm self (which, of course, just sent me further into a tailspin), gently asked what it was that I wanted to do with my life. My reply: “make a difference!” He calmly asked how I was going to make this difference and, more importantly, where would I be in a position to make this all-important difference? He continued, where would I never be doing the same job day after day and not have a day of boredom?

Suddenly there were flashing lights and neon signs above my head: Teacher? Teacher! Well, they deal with different situations and contexts on a daily basis, they can never be bored (unless they’re doing it wrong) and by law, are given a platform to influence and help young ones all day long and learn so much more! Why didn’t I see it before?

I am now in my fourth year of teaching Grade 7 at a primary school in Cape Town and love it. I also love my studies, I have completed my honours degree in special education and am now doing my Masters degree.

Are the kids in my class thinking up ways to aggravate me every five minutes? Absolutely! In fact, I encourage them to challenge me and themselves on an educational level. Do I scream all day and mark scripts until late at night? Well, let’s just say that some days I use my outside voice indoors and 30 adolescent kids are a handful! Am I bored? Never. Being an educator is an engaging profession where one can learn and experience more each day.

I thank my parents for allowing me to experience all of my hits and misses which ultimately led me to this grand adventure. And I’m making a difference in hundreds of little ways. I can’t wait to chat to you about all things education in this blog.

-Reyanah Manuel

Reyanah will be blogging for YOU every second week.

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