Molenbeek teacher shines bright

2019-10-15 06:00
Rene Jonas with her learners and their life-size MySchool Teacher’s Day Competition entry at Molenbeek Primary School in Maitland.

Rene Jonas with her learners and their life-size MySchool Teacher’s Day Competition entry at Molenbeek Primary School in Maitland.

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Rene Jonas, a level 1 intermediate teacher at Molenbeek Special School in Maitland, has won a national special recognition award in the Woolworths Educational Programme and MySchool Teacher’s Day Competition.

With this year’s theme “Let’s celebrate those that shine!”, learners from across the country, in all phases of school, were asked to tell their story of the educator who makes a difference in their lives.

Jonas was entered into the competition by her class who collaborated to create a life-size artwork celebrating their favourite teacher. For her, the art project was one of the highlights of the competition.

“It allowed me to bond with the learners during the creative process and to create awareness around the importance of recycling,” she says.

Louis Fourie, principal at the school, says the learners have a lot of respect for their teacher. “Mrs Jonas always strives to create an environment conducive for optimal learning for her learners.

“This is evident in the way her learners responded to this project and all other activities in the class,” says Fourie.

Jonas says being acknowledged and rewarded by Woolworths and MySchool in such a thoughtful and elegant manner have been exhilarating and humbling. “Special-needs education can only benefit from the exposure that our school and children have received from this award. I would recommend entering this competition to all my brave colleagues in special-needs education,” says Jonas.

She and her partner joined nine other competition finalists for a fully paid, two-night stay, beginning on Thursday 28 September, at Fairlawns Boutique Hotel in Gauteng, which included a treat spa day.

She describes the weekend as a phenomenal experience. “It was amazing to be surrounded by fellow teachers who are so passionate about their profession and the children of our country,” says Jonas.

A cash prize of R10 000 was awarded to Jonas and Molenbeek primary received R10 000 as well. An additional R6 000 was allocated towards the educational needs of the learners in her class.

Fourie says the prize money will greatly benefit their learners.

“Quite a few of them come from the disadvantaged sectors of our community. It is for this reason that we will always have shortfalls in our budget. We are grateful for every cent that is offered or raised for the school,” he says.

One of the projects that the money will go towards is to enhance the arts and crafts activities as stipulated in the new draft Differentiated Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (D-CAPS) piloted for the past year at the school. “This will be a stepping stone for similar projects for the 2020 academic year,” says Fourie.

The 2019 Teachers Day Competition awarded prizes worth R400 000. Based on a written motivation by the learners, the competition judges selected two finalists in each school phase, as well as a principal and a special needs educator who receive special recognition.

Pieter Twine, general manager of the Woolworths Education Programme and MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme, says: “The growth of the Teachers Day Competition, which is supported by the department of education, is testimony that there is fantastic awareness of the importance of celebrating teachers as leaders and everyday heroes in our communities.”

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