Primary can boast best teacher

2016-10-25 06:00
Pelican Park Primary School’s Sameera Mohideen is the province’s Best Primary School Teacher.

Pelican Park Primary School’s Sameera Mohideen is the province’s Best Primary School Teacher.

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She has only been teaching for three years, but was recently named the province’s Best Primary School Teacher in this year’s Woolworths Teacher’s Day competition.

Sameera Mohideen is a Natural Science teacher and describes her learners as her “junior scientists who go on great voyages of discovery with me”.

The humble Mohideen teaches at Grassy Park’s Pelican Park Primary School.

She says she is overwhelmed by the prize.

“It all seems surreal; it has not sunk in yet. Teachers are always busy. We plan, [prepare lessons], teach, guide, counsel and more often than not forego our breaks to chat with learners. I don’t feel as if I am the best teacher in my school and trust me I am a very confident, self-assertive person,” she says.

Mohideen praises her colleagues for their efforts, saying an “award needs to go to the teaching profession on the whole”.

“If you had to meet my colleagues and other teachers you would certainly believe that the award needs to go to the teaching profession as a whole. Teaching is not a career, it is a way of life.

“For many of us, we take our learners as our own children. When they are troubled, we are troubled and when they are happy and successful, we are proud,” Mohideen enthuses.

Mohideen says the pupil who nominated her, Farzana Kearns, is one of her success stories.

“She was in my first Grade 4 class. She was a very fearful, nervous, anxious little girl who was too shy to even answer in class. She was really struggling in class, with peers and academically.

“I make it a mission of mine to meet all parents in the beginning of the school year and introduce myself and to let them know that when their child is in my class, they become my kids,” Mohideen explains.

She says parents know they can approach and confide in her “and seek guidance in anything and everything. I do believe that parents and teachers need to work together and be a united front, to set clear and consistent boundaries for children.”

She says being nominated by Farzana has been a humbling experience and came with a “sense of wow”.

“Did I really manage to make a positive difference in a child’s life? Did I actually contribute positively to society? I was able to give back to others.

“I am truly very grateful for all that I do have in my life. My mum plays a very important role in my life. She always gave more to others than what she took. She always found great enjoyment in giving and helping others,” she says.

Mohideen decided three years ago to pursue her studies.

“I studied through Unisa, which allowed me to stay at home with my kids and complete my degree at my own pace. I initially planned on qualifying as a clinical psychologist with my major being Psychology. Due to lack of employment opportunities in [the country], my plan had to change,” she explains.

“I always knew that I wanted to help others, guide and inspire, so teaching seemed like the obvious choice. I prayed and asked for guidance and that I should be placed where I could be of the most benefit to others. This prayer led me straight to Pelican Park Primary School,” Mohideen recalls.

She continues describing her way of teaching as “relaxed”.

“I like to laugh. We laugh in class sometimes over silly mishaps on my part. I try and teach the children that no-one is perfect, especially not me. When I am wrong or I have treated a child unfairly, I would, after reflection, stand in class and apologise to the child concerned,” she says,

And this way of teaching, Mohideen says, has her pupils shocked sometimes.

“They need to know that no-one is above the law or rules of the class. Many children who misbehave will come to me later in the day and apologise. I enjoy teaching the children to be critical thinkers, to open their mind to endless possibilities.”

Mohideen says she wants to inspire her pupils to believe they are unique.

“We start every day knowing that we decide whether it is going to be good or bad. They mentally have to decide that no-one is going to change their good mood.”

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