Though teachers face difficult challenges in communities on daily , ranging from robberies, attacks and ill-disciplined learners, this doesn’t deter young teachers like Masixole Mbanjwa from doing what they love best.
Mbanjwa, a Grade 6 teacher at ACJ Phakade Primary School in Nomzamo, sat down to speak to City Vision about these challenges and what it means to be a teacher today.
The young teacher, who hails from Qumbu in the Eastern Cape, says he started teaching at the school in 2012 after obtaining his BEd degree from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
The social sciences, English and life skills teacher says he has always had a passion for teaching.
He always knew that he would be standing in front of a class one day.
Mbanjwa says today’s teachers face a number of challenges, including learners’ ill-discipline, pregnancy and lack of support from parents.
“Parents no longer have love for education,” he says. “You can see this at meetings, by the numbers that attend to find out about their children’s progress. Many learners just don’t care and I believe we need intervention to bring back a love for education.”
Mbanjwa says learners also face lot of challenges in their communities, so teachers also have to act as counsellors to learners to get them open up if there’s anything that’s affecting them.
“Teacher’s Day is an important day to celebrate, as it stresses the dignity of the teacher,” Mbanjwa says.
“There’re a lot of things we see around us; many things we have to live through daily. The role teachers play in our communities is pivotal and every professional has to go through a teacher, yet you don’t see teachers getting the respect they deserve.”
Mbanjwa feels learners are more cared for when compared to teachers, as their rights and freedom are, at times, abused by learners.
He says he would love to leave the community knowing he has also contributed to the development of learners of the area.
“I am still young and would love to develop more in this profession,” Mbanjwa says. “When I look at learners doing Grade 12 this year – they are my first class to reach Grade 12. So if the pass rate increases in the Western Cape, I would know that I also contributed.”
Mbanjwa urged parents not to look at school as a “dumping place” for their children.
On World Teachers Day, celebrated on Friday 5 October, provincial education minister Debbie Schäfer joined her colleagues in celebrating teachers, who make a difference in children’s lifes every day.
She said the provincial education department is pleased to mark the day, as it celebrates the important contribution teachers make.
“World Teachers Day represents a significant effort to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development across the world,” Schäfer said.
With the recent flare up of attacks on teachers across the country, Schäfer believes it is important that government e have programmes in place that provide psycho-social support to all teachers in need.
“We are aware a number of our teachers are faced with increased disciplinary challenges in their classrooms. The department is building a values-driven organisation, and we will not tolerate or condone any form of violence or aggression against any teacher, principal or staff member,” she related.