A tribute to teachers

By Drum Digital
12 January 2012

Two students have put together a book honouring teachers who make a difference – and the inspiring stories are from all over SA

I can still picture him in my mind’s eye, standing at the front of the class with his back as straight as an army general’s.

Then, with eyes half closed, he painted word pictures to describe world-changing historical events so vividly that they unfolded in front of our eyes.

Our principal was a gifted teacher who was in his element imparting history lessons or passing on the pleasures of romantic poet John Keats and novelist Charles Dickens.

“That’s exactly the kind of educator we looked for, to put in our book – we never forget our best teachers,” says Nangamso Koza (25), a journalism student at the University of the Free State (UFS).

“The kind who imbued us with a deeper understanding and an enduring passion; opening doors that altered the course of our lives,” she adds.

Inspirational rector of the university, Professor Jonathan Jansen, chose Nangamso and fellow student Lihlumelo Toyana (24), a postgraduate political science student at UFS, to compile and edit a fascinating book called Great South African Teachers.

The two students say the overriding purpose of the book is to celebrate great teachers and to convey a message of hope because there are still powerful teacher models to draw on in order to rebuild a faltering school system.

They believe that far too often we hear stories about the crumbling education system and teachers who fail the country’s children.

But there’s another face to the education crisis – the face of heroic teachers who struggle against the odds to give learners a fair chance to obtain good results and to build a better society.

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