Ordinary Heroes aka TEACH Ambassadors

Who are you and what place do you call home?

My name is Nditsheni Nekwevha and I am from Thoyandou.

What did you graduate with?

I have a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics Degree from the University of Venda.

What were you planning to do with your qualification? What were your dreams?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I went to go register for a Bachelor of Education degree I found out that the Faculty of Education had already exceeded the number of students it was planning to enrol for the year. Fortunately, I had done well enough in Matric and I had enough points to qualify for a BSc Degree under the Admission Point Score System.

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador, why did you become a teacher?

Well, like I said before, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I knew that the degree I had completed opened up many possibilities for me and may also be more financially rewarding.  But I never believed that making a lot of money would bring meaning to my life and/or make much of a difference in the lives of others.

What have been your challenges as an Ambassador placed in a school and how have you overcome them?

In the classroom I have realised that there gaps between what learners are supposed to know at certain grade levels and what they actually know. I have attributed this to a lack of a strong foundation in mathematics. Since mathematics is a subject area where ‘new’ knowledge is built on ‘old‘ knowledge; it is critical that the foundation or the bases of a leaners mathematical knowledge is strong and well established. And this what I have been doing, going back and building the learners mathematical knowledge from the foundations up so that it can be strong. I have started noticing that learners strongly agree with me when I say that mathematics is useful in their lives. They even come in large numbers to the extra classes I offer on Saturdays.

Outside of the classroom I have realised that the community my school is in may play a part in what is going on in the classroom. Children learn from what they see those they respect do; children emulate the behaviour they see gets results. Unfortunately, the only people seemingly “getting results and making progress in their lives” in the community are gangsters and people that have not used education as a way of improving their lives. So the learners lack positive role models that will help keep them in school and aspiring to achieve academically. To resolve this, I have established a connection with learners. I have explained to them that I am from the same background they are from, even though we are not from the same city or province, I have faced the exact same challenges and I overcame them! I am now a productive member of society! I think because of this connection, the learners and I are able to relate better and this makes learning mathematics easier for them.

What have you found to be the most rewarding thing about being a TEACH Ambassador?

The fact that I am making a positive and immediately noticeable difference in the lives of my learners. That they are able to share their dreams with me and I am able to help them set goals for themselves. Ultimately I want what is best for my learners and at the very least I want them to be involved, independent and valuable members of society; like me.

What is your vision in life and how does education fit into it?

Well in the future I hope to open my own school. So right now, I am busy learning how to impact one life at time and what comprises a good education. If you look at countries around the world that have managed to lift themselves up from poverty; education has been used as a main driver to prosperity. I see education as a tool for nation building and I envision my school as a medium through which each learner will be prepared and equipped for life upon leaving the gates of my school.

If you had to give someone one reason to become an Ambassador or help in the education space; what would it be?

A generation is made or lost through education, so I believe It is a space where you have the   opportunity to change and impact real lives. It is taking care of a piece of Your future.

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