Itumeleng Makgoale

This month we chatted to Itumleng Makgoale, a TEACH Ambassador currently teaching at Boaramelo combined school in Jagersfontein based in the Free State. He teaches Mathematics to grade 4, 8, 11 and 12.

Itumeleng and his learners started an acapella group, Gravity Force, which has been a great success and after 6 months they won their first award in the Hip Hop Science Spaza Competition. Gravity Force was extremely excited when they found out they had been offered an opportunity to record an album with IFANI (a well-known South African Hip Hop Artist). They were also chosen to perform at the 2015 MACUFE Arts Festival. And they took first place representing the Free State and came third nationally.

TEACH Ambassadors are required to create a Legacy Programme, where they engage the learners and even possibly the community members in an extra-curricular activity. Itumeleng has chosen to create an art group, made up of acapella and drama activities. He has an arts background in theatre performance and after noticing, during assembly, that there was talent amongst the learners he decided that this would be his legacy project.

It’s not just about celebrities, competitions and prizes. Itumeleng works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep his learners focused on their studies as well as the arts programme and has to work hard to fundraise to support the programmes’ activities.

Itumeleng was drawn to the TEACH programme because of what it stood for. In his view one of the biggest challenges our country faces is building a strong education system, especially when it comes to maths and science. He says, “As citizens how can we expect our future children to attain better education if we don’t tackle the problem ourselves.”

In discussing the challenges he typically faces in the classroom he points to the fact that there is no motivation to study and learn because at a broader community level, there are very few opportunities for the learners to look forward to.

And many of the learners engage in alcohol abuse. The lack of community spaces such as libraries and recreation centres are seen as part of the problem, as well as the fact that parents show little involvement in their children’s education.

As a result teachers face a myriad of issues in the classroom as they double up as social workers and doctors, as well as educators.

Itumeleng is inspired daily by his learners, “I realised how valuable I am to them and that has been pushing me each and every day to wake up and give my best”.

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