Teacher of the week: It's all about the kids

By admin
14 April 2014

Our teacher of the week believes a classroom and a school are all about the children. That’s why she makes sure her class is a place where learners can grow and learn in a safe space.

Name and age:

Eriné Botha (27)

Where and what do you teach?

Grade 3 at Carel du Toit Centre for Hearing Impaired learners.

Why did you choose teaching as a career?

There are several reasons – it just fell into place like the pieces in a jigsaw puzzle as I had to make my career choice. I’ve always had an unbelievable love of people, and children in particular, and initially studied medicine. One day while I was studying for a chemistry test, my nephew [he’s got Down Syndrome] came up and asked me to explain what I was doing. Right then I realised I wanted to teach – more specifically in a school where learners would need more support. And then of course teaching is in my blood.

Give 3 tips for other teachers who teach your subject 

  • If a child hasn’t mastered a concept you must not move on to the next concept or a more difficult variation.  We are ground-level phase teachers and must therefore make sure he/she masters basic concepts.
  • Work visually, tactilely and using sound. Games are a wonderful medium through which kids learn.
  • Learners must be actively involved in the learning process. Don’t just stand in front of the class and explain a sum. Let each child develop their own strategy and present it to the class. It’s always astounding to see how they explain to each other, help each other and in this way gain a better understanding of what to do.

Give 3 tips to new teachers in any subject/grade

  • If you are enthusiastic about the work, the learners will also be enthusiastic about the work.
  • A classroom and a school are places for learning and growing – and you are there to make sure that happens. Never lose sight of why a child is in a school and why you are there. That’s why you must always make the child feel safe.
  • If you believe in a child, even if they initially look the weakest, they will exceed your expectations. There is a quote that reads: "Every child is a genius, maybe just not on the same day or the same time."

What is your favourite technological aid or book to use in class?

I enjoy Superteacher.com, Sparkle box and education.com

The Trumpeter Series are wonderful teaching aids. It has child-friendly work pages and is suited to CAPS.

Then I do auditory perception and visual perception exercises once a week. It’s great for their learning and reading abilities and they really enjoy it. Previous departmental books we sometimes just push aside have wonderful exercises for this.

What motivates you as a teacher?

The children. They can talk the hind leg off a donkey and by the end of the week have me slumped at my desk with my hands in my hair as the last one leaves, but they remain my greatest motivation. They are so decent, full of love and eager to learn. It’s a huge responsibility to teach a child. They come to school to learn and we have the opportunity to bring the outside world to them. We play an integral role in their holistic development. What a privilege . . .

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