TEACH Ambassador on a Mission to Help Students Excel in Maths

Anelisa Dyonase is on a mission to help students excel in maths

Former TEACH Ambassador Anelisa Dyonase currently teaches Mathematics at Ratang Thuto Secondary School in Postmasburg. Over the last four years he has taken on a personal mission to increase the number of students focusing on and excelling in his subject. Anelisa has always enjoyed mathematics, which he believes stemmed from one particularly memorable teacher at his own high school. “My first inspiration for mathematics and teaching originated from being taught by an excellent teacher at my secondary school. He was so enthusiastic about the subject and so flexible in his teaching methods. His enthusiasm rubbed off on us and made the subject exciting”.

It was during his studies in Mathematics and Statistics at the University of The Western Cape that he realised he had a skill for teaching. Whilst studying for his degree at his local library, younger kids from his community would ask for help with their maths and science studies. Helping these kids, explaining solutions to their questions and seeing their understanding of Mathematics grow was extremely rewarding for Anelisa. He also noticed that a peer to peer relationship rather than the traditional ‘teacher-pupil hierarchy’ put the kids at ease and made it easier for them to ask questions they may have been afraid to ask.

His training and time as a TEACH ambassador and his four years at Ratang Thuto Secondary School have re-affirmed these learnings. He has actively campaigned to create closer teacher-pupil relations via a number of means. He goes running with his class and has also set up a games club, where he and his students play chess and Morabaraba. “Bonding over running, seeing me lose or not knowing what move to make in chess helps my pupils see me on a human level. Maths is a challenging subject. It is important for them to realise that it’s ok to be challenged and to not always come out on top”.

What does he hope for his maths students and for his own future? For his students his main priority is for them to engage with the subject, increase their skills and to leave schools with the best possible prospects. One current grade 11 student has expressed a desire to become a maths teacher in the future and Anelisa feels that it is a huge privilege to have been able to pass down that passion.For himself a long term dream would be to create workshops for his fellow teachers to teach maths in an exciting, engaging way. He understands that it’s traditionally seen as a difficult subject, but with the right approach it can be exciting and very rewarding.

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