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Teachers Month: A Time to Celebrate South Africa’s Real Educators

In numerous forums, school and department gatherings it has been emphasised that the most important person in the school is the learner and as such, the mechanism (which includes teachers, school staff, parents, department and society) needs to work to provide these learners with quality education.

Teachers in South Africa have received a lot of unwanted attention from parents, communities and the media and this has resulted in very low morale and demotivation.

As with any profession, there are those individuals who seem to have been ‘born to do this’; those who still hold on to the values of the profession despite the crushing criticism and lack of support from stakeholders; those who we refer to as the “real educators”.

As we step into National Teachers’ Month in South Africa, the Department of Basic Education’s E3 (DBE-E3) is honing in on the invaluable contribution made by educators in the lives of learners, parents, communities, and society at large. It’s an opportune moment to celebrate educators who embark on unique teaching journeys.

Teaching is not merely a profession; it’s a vocation that demands unwavering commitment, boundless passion, and a profound dedication to shaping the minds of the future.  The      Department of Basic Education’s Ecubed (DBE-E³     ) has worked, and continues to work, with countless teachers who have retained their integrity and passion through the most trying of times to prepare learners for a changing world of work.    

One unique journey is in the field of entrepreneurial learning and project-based learning.  Educators at all levels can help young people engage with the world around them and envision what might be different and their contribution to the economy.

Most schools are already trialling the idea and are looking into implementing entrepreneurial education in the CAPs curriculum. While some people tend to think of entrepreneurship as starting one’s own business, it’s not necessarily the case. Schools are starting to teach kids entrepreneurship by getting them involved in projects such as running their own businesses in their areas of interest or where they’ve identified challenges.

“Teachers act as guides and facilitators who inspire learners of all ages to give the best of themselves while learning and growing as individuals”, says James Donald, Ecubed Executive Director.

The Teacher Appreciation Month was set up in 2020 by the South African Basic Education Minister, Professor Kader Asmal. The event was set up because the quality of teaching and teachers is one of the most important factors in determining children’s performance in school. 

National Teachers’ Month is not just a celebration of individual teachers but a collective tribute to the profession itself.  Educators’ knowledge and skills need to be continually upgraded to ensure they are well-prepared and equipped to tackle the educational demands and needs of today’s learners.

When we value people, we ensure that we take care of their wellbeing. The space for teachers to off-load and reconnect is a necessity. Teachers deal with immeasurable amounts of stress and oftentimes, their efforts go unnoticed. It is integral that teachers receive this opportunity to tackle and express their issues before they become ticking bombs.

 

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