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Teaching: a difficult job worthy of recognition

‘Love each and every child who comes through your door’

Sarah Hatting, who recently won the Excellence in Primary School Teaching category of the prestigious annual National Teaching Awards (NTA) has every reason to feel “enormously honoured”. Winning at such a high level is no mean feat, for she was pitted against her equally competent and hardworking peers, nationally.

Thabo Mohlala asked her a few questions to find out what keeps her going and what she likes about teaching.

When did you start teaching?

I started teaching in 2003, directly after completing my degree at the University of Natal.

Why did you choose teaching?

I had many aspirations when I started studying and followed a degree leaning toward psychology as a profession, but during this time I realised that I have always loved teaching and helping others. Since I was a small girl I always took it upon myself to teach and guide others who needed help. I always have involved myself in teaching of some form! It was this internal spirit of teaching, which was so strong that I could not imagine doing anything else. It feeds my soul.

What do you like most about teaching?

I love seeing learners develop. It is my greatest passion to see how they grow before my eyes and become powerful and independent leaders of their own destiny. I love that teaching is not only limited to subject content. I love that I can have a hand in the development of a future generation who will display moral values and strength of character in the shaping of everyone’s tomorrow. The mere thought that the seeds we plant today in learners will become the resounding echo that shall linger through eternity is an experience that cannot be compared.

What does winning the NTA mean to you?

Winning the NTA is an enormous honour. It is a title that I will uphold with pride and will never forget. The recognition for a difficult job was so inspiring and I really felt that what I do on a daily basis does not go unrecognised by the department of education. It is even more of an honour for me as I am not employed by this department; it really does show how they take the time to recognise all teachers in the country.

What inspires you to keep going in your job?

The fuel that keeps me going every day is the love of the children. The diversity in our schools and the unique personalities are amazing. It is so amazing that I get the honour of being a large part of many learners’ life journeys. I take such pride in seeing the learners reach their full potential and even beyond.

How do you relax?

I love to spend time with my supportive, inspiring husband and my beautiful daughters. They are the centre of my world. When relaxing at home I enjoy spending time with my horses and crafting with my family. I paint and crochet and we are always busy with a project in the home. My husband is an incredible artisan who is often the logic and brains behind many of my projects. I also look forward to my Zimbabwe missionary trips which I take every year. I am currently opening a school there in a rural village.

Message to teachers out there

Do everything that you do with your entire soul. Love each and every child who comes through your door. They have a life story and you are part of it. Do not see the learners as mere bodies that fill the seats in your class, embrace their uniqueness and allow them to teach you as well. We are all part of this huge unfolding story that we call life … leave your mark!

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