As our teachers return to school and wait in excitement for the return of their scholars, they share what they love about being a teacher.
There are many qualities that make a great teacher. These include a dedication to their students to succeed, caring, patient and their love to imparting knowledge to others.
We chat to SPARK Schools teachers about their journey, what keeps them motivated and why they love teaching.
After qualifying as a teacher in 2018, Stefanie Jugthaw, 25, found work in the private sector. But she couldn’t ignore her passion for teaching.
“I left corporate because teaching has always been my passion and I could no longer ignore my desire to teach. While the pay was better and the hours shorter in corporate, I felt like it was more draining whereas I feel energized when I teach. That means more to me than the money,” she says.
One of the highlights of being a teacher for Jugthaw is interacting with her scholars and building relationships with them while guiding them as they navigate life.
“I love the fact that I get to learn just as much as the kids do every day. I love that I have to be innovative in teaching different personality styles the same content and that I get to ensure the next generation is learning as much as they can,” she says.
Additionally, she loves that she can rely on her colleagues for support.
“You have a community of teachers, managers and support to help you be the best teacher you can be and you have a library of resources and supplies at your disposal,” she says.
SPARK Schools offers its teachers 245 hours of professional development (Which is equivalent to a decade of professional development in a traditional setting) to help them hone their skills and become the best professionals they can possibly be.
“SPARK pushes you to teach in a meaningful way and not just teach so the scholars can pass. As a teacher at SPARK, you feel encouraged to grow and push yourself towards being a better professional than you already are,” says Forrest Jugthaw.
With only a year in her teaching career, 24-year-old SPARK Soweto teacher Nomalungelo Machele’s scholar’s have already made an indelible mark in her life.
“The greatest lesson I have learnt as a teacher is to be patient as not all our scholars grasp knowledge at the same time. I have also learnt to always be passionate and give each task the best that I can as I am serving future citizens of our country,” she says.
For Machele, being able to collaborate with colleagues makes her job more fun.
“The core values and toolbox in a way help SPARK teachers to do their best. Personal development enables SPARK teachers to differ from other teachers as we are constantly being taught new things every week,” she says.
With over two decades in the education sector, Albertina Moraba comes with a wealth of experience in the teaching fraternity. The 45-year-old says it still gives her great pleasure to make a difference in her scholar’s lives.
“Each day I wake up with the hope that I am able to make a positive impact on each of their lives,” she says.
She adds; “I have learned that each child is unique therefore they will be taught in different approaches when teaching and assessing them towards the same goal.”