Teacher of the week: Be resourceful

By admin
26 August 2013

Our Teacher of the Week is Matlale Leshilo. She is the August winner of the Teachers for Change competition.

Here we ask her a few quick questions:

Name and age

Matlale Leshilo (41)

What and where do you teach?

I teach Grade 5 mathematics and Grade 7 life orientation at Selela Primary School in Limpopo’s River Cross district.

Why did you choose teaching as a career?

At first I didn’t want to be a teacher, I wanted to be a social worker. I couldn’t afford to go to university, so my sisters encouraged me to pursue a teaching career and helped me to pay the college fees. As soon as I started, I fell in love with teaching! It’s a great professions and I also get the opportunity to apply the skills of a social worker in my career. I’ve been a teacher for 18 years now.

Give 3 tips for other teachers in your field.

1. You must love your subject. If you do, you will go out of your way to find ways to explain difficult concepts to learners.

2. Be dedicated and committed to your work and your students.

3. Improvise if your learners don’t understand a concept straight away. There’s often a language barrier in mathematics, so you have to be creative for them to understand the difficult concepts.

Give 3 tips for new teachers in any subject or grade.

1. A teacher must love the work of being a teacher and should set a good example. When others talk about a good teacher, you should also come to mind. You must carry the profession within you.

2. Don’t just do the work for the sake of doing the work – you must be prepared to walk the extra mile for your learners.

3. Remember that nobody is perfect, not even a teacher! I sometimes still have to use Google to find the answers.

What’s your favourite equipment/ book to use in the classroom?

I collect many different textbooks for mathematics and consolidate the activities for my learners. I also enjoy using the maths kit I received as part of the prize as a winner in YOU’s Teachers for Change competition. It includes many useful devices such as counters and fraction scripts. It’s wonderful to teach using activities on the iPad too, and the students love it!

What motivates you?

At heart I’ve always simply loved children. I also like serving other people, and when I combine this with my love of children, I am passionate about what I do. When I was still at college I was taught to teach the child in totality – academically, emotionally and morally. I strive to assess whether all the learners in a class are ready for the learning content. If I identify barriers, I apply intervention strategies that might involve the parents or health-care professionals. I feel very blessed to have been nominated for teacher’s awards and always strive to do more than is needed.

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