2016 Ends on a High as we Celebrate the 2015 Graduating TEACH Cohort

32 TEACH ambassadors graduate from the Teacher placement programme

Two years of hard work, dedication and commitment culminated in a prestigious graduation ceremony, held on Saturday 10 December at the Deloitte auditorium in Johannesburg for the 2015 TEACH cohort to pay tribute and celebrate the young people in this country who have shown true commitment to making a difference in education in South Africa.In 2014, top maths, science and English university graduates were recruited by TEACH South Africa and deployed in under resourced schools across the country to teach for a period of 2 years.

Former TEACH Ambassador Berkia Banda, now Head of School at African School for Excellence was Master of Ceremony at the Graduation and shared that TEACH ignited a passion for teaching in him and that “once you enter the education system, you will never leave, for it is in you to spread knowledge and develop young minds.” He continued to say that “the work you TEACH Ambassadors have done has impacted and changed so many lives.”

Exiting ambassador, Madia Elekanyani from Winile Secondary School in Soweto spoke about his experience as a TEACH Ambassador and ended off by saying “always remember, you don’t need to be in the system to make a difference, we can all make a difference and are responsible for contributing to education in South Africa wherever you may be and in whatever role you decide to take on.” It is interesting to note that over 50% of TEACH Ambassadors stay in the teaching profession after the 2 year programme.TEACH Ambassador Alumni, Reuben Xaba- who recently launched a teacher appreciation programme called “Mzansi Rockstar teacher” spoke about the stigma attached to the teaching profession explaining that “ young people are often reluctant to become a teacher because of the perception that it’s not a cool profession and that it doesn’t pay well” he continued “ there is a huge need to change that perception and to celebrate the role of the teacher in society as teachers are the people who impact lives every day- every single person has had one teacher that has impacted their lives in a significantly positive way and those people need to be celebrated and recognized.”

Keynote speaker Pius Gumede; Energy expert and social entrepreneur spoke on the importance of developing strong communicators “anyone can study a textbook, I would rather hire someone with teaching experience, who can communicate with people rather than knowing a text book well” he explains, “This is why the TEACH program is so valuable because it teaches more than educational skills, it develops well rounded individuals who can make significant contributions to society.”Friend of TEACH, Ursula Fear concluded by saying that the world of work is changing and that “one of the most important things we need to bring into the future world of work is passion. We don’t know what the jobs will be like but the passion will allow us to adapt. That’s were educators come in- to develop passion in their learners.”The TEACH Ambassador graduates received their certificate marking the completion of a two-year teacher placement and many of them will continue to teach in fact most of them are studying for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)- to formalize their teacher qualification.

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