In February, Teach For All's first African partner, TEACH South Africa, celebrated its five-year anniversary with an exciting evening of reflection and tributes. The video above is a look back at the organization's first five years, and the following is an excerpt from TEACH South Africa's summary of the event:
Tributes poured in thick and fast at TEACH South Africa’s fifth-anniversary celebration on 19 February 2014. Role players, stakeholders and friends of the organisation gathered at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg to pay tribute to the successes that have been achieved since it was founded in 2009.
One of the main values TEACH South Africa stands firm on is becoming an agent of change. It was fitting, therefore, that everyone who took to the dais spoke of changes in teaching and learning in our school system.
The chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, spoke of his short-lived stint (“a month and two weeks”) in the teaching profession. Albeit a brief career path, he acknowledged the Ambassadors who have stuck with the profession, even after completing their two-year service.
“All graduates want to earn huge money as soon as they start to work. To serve is a huge self-sacrifice,” he said.
He then recalled some of the values that Nelson Mandela believed in: “To be free, to free others from poverty and to continue to serve.”
CEO and founder of TEACH South Africa Dr Mothomang Diaho remembered kitchen-table discussions that date back as early as 2004, where this ambitious project was initially code-named “Masibambisane” – one of the many names that were being tried out.
Fast-track to a 2009 meeting with then newly appointed Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga: “She insisted that anything that had to do with education must be supported,” said Diaho. “We began with eight schools in the first two years, and five years later we have a presence and footprint in eight provinces around the country.”
As his two-year service comes to an end, TEACH Ambassador and graduate Sven Glietenberg looked back at how he has supported his school and its learners. He believes learning is more important than teaching and has contributed to both at Ntshwane High School in Hammanskraal. Not only does he teach English, but he also manages the school choir and the debating club.
He demonstrated how he uses technology in the classroom through video, interacting with English second-language learners from across the globe, “so they can see that there are other second-language learners across the world”.
“Teaching is not a job, it’s the job,” he said.
Former learner at Erasmus Monareng Secondary School, Sphiwe Sibanyoni, gave insight on how her school changed in the years 2008 and 2009 with the arrival of TEACH Ambassadors.
“When Ms Dliwayo and Ms Makaya came to our school, it was like magic. Things started to change. When it came to Physical Science and English, we never got a free period, but the fruits we reaped were amazing.
“These teachers’ efforts produced excellent biochemists, intelligent engineers, dedicated health workers, talented architects and many more. I’m a qualified diagnostic radiographer and I will forever be grateful to them. Sometimes you just need one person who believes in you. ”
Current learner Shenusi Progress Gungo of Zonkizizwe Secondary School in Katlehong thanked TEACH South Africa for producing “such excellent Ambassadors, who showed us that Maths is like counting stones – you just need to concentrate; and that Physics is like mixing peaches and apricots to make it a delicious combination.
“They’ve introduced education through social networks, they’ve brought new study techniques. I am who I am today because of their passion in education,” he said.
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