Teaching is about finding and creating your own space and reality
When I grew up I never dreamt of becoming a teacher. This was simply because teaching was not “fashionable” then — nor is it now. Most of the time you hear people say horrible things about teaching and education in general. Teachers, especially, are the ones who talk badly about the profession. During my school days I don’t recall any of my teachers encouraging me to become a teacher.
It was when I was doing a degree in engineering that I realised that my passion lies in solving “real world” problems, and there and then I made the choice to become a teacher. The day I made that choice I felt so proud of myself, and I have never looked back.
Today I am in my third year of studying a bachelor’s degree in education through correspondence with Unisa. One valuable opportunity that I am really grateful for is having done an internship as a full-time student teacher. This allowed me to start changing the world immediately, instead of having to wait for four years until I graduate.
There are challenges that I face as a young, aspiring teacher in the field. Firstly, studying through correspondence while working means I had to be good at managing my time. Secondly, being only 20 years old and having to teach 18-year-old learners is a huge responsibility, and the only way I can deal with it is by seeing myself as an inspiration to them. I also try to be someone they can easily relate to, and this strengthens my relationship with them.
When I have conversations with more experienced teachers it always feels like I ought to reserve my opinions and thoughts because I am inexperienced, but this should not always be the case. A young, aspiring teacher in the workplace should try to find his or her own space and create their own reality.
Recently, I attended the Aspiring Teachers Convention, which was part of the Axis Education Summit. It was a five-day event where various education partners and thought pioneers shared ideas under the theme: “realising a new story for education”. I thought this was relevant, as I became a teacher because I want to be part of this new education story, and I want to create or influence change.
As US author Seth Godin puts it: “Stop settling for what’s good enough, and start creating art that matters. Stop asking what’s in it for you, and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, will you have achieved your potential.”