A 29-year-old teacher, Michael Sithole, from KwaThema has been working for the Department of Basic Education for seven years. He expressed himself saying, “It has been a beautiful journey to be given a great opportunity to help and impact the youth of KwaThema.”
Sithole loved mathematics and he was good with the subject as he enjoyed solving problems, numbers and he also practised it constantly. He considered mathematics as his first love as he would be excited to get up at 3 am in the morning to practice it. During his high school days, he shared the same determination with his classmates that brought joy to him, and his former Tlakula High School principal and teachers encouraged him to pursue a course that is centred on mathematics at the tertiary level, so he fell in love with the teaching course.
Sithole disclosed to Ekurhuleni news, saying “What I enjoy most about teaching is finding learners who are not performing well in mathematics because I offer them help and advice so they can improve their marks. It is the joy that keeps me going and that wakes me up early in the morning. Ill- disciplined learners has got to be one of the challenges that most teachers face and also seeing learners who do exceptionally well in their primary and high school tenure but cannot further their studies due to the fact that they lack money. Learners are hard to discipline these days as they are easily distracted by the impact of social media, peer pressure, bullying, drugs and teenage pregnancy. The Basic Education Department is doing its utmost best to implement systems that will compact the challenges that are faced by teachers. My happiest moment was when I was given a chance to teach grade12 learners in 2018 which resulted in the school attaining an 83.7% pass rate in mathematics and some of the learners obtained distinctions, they respected me as young as I was. One needs to be a lover of people and keep in mind the Batho Pele principle when pursuing teaching as a career as people come first and yourself second. A teacher is a caregiver, psychologist, therapist, parent and wearing all those hats needs to be compulsory for one, if you are doing it for money then you have chosen the wrong profession. You need to have passion for serving the learners as well. Learners are not the same, therefore one needs to be creative.”
No profession is easy, however, the resilience and willingness to learn to keep a passionate teacher going as the road is full of challenges with learners and sometimes colleagues. The improvement of these learners keeps Sithole going in his field.
Currently, Sithole is also offering extra classes to the learners which is called “Master Maths with Michael Sithole”, since he is determined to improve the young learners’ lives.
By Vuyokazi Bam