Ordinary Heroes aka TEACH Ambassadors
Who are you and what place do you call home?
I am Tshegofatso “Phatso” Zingitwa and I am born and bred in Germiston on the East Rand of Johannesburg.
What did you graduate with?
I am a Political Science and International Relations Graduate from the North West University, Mafikeng Campus.
What were you planning to do with your qualification? What were your dreams?
It is a pretty broad qualification and its applications are many and varied. Some of the few passions I discovered I harbour in university are: leadership, the youth and media. So I felt that my qualification would help put some knowledge behind my leadership passion and it would adequately resource me to shine on any stage.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador, why did you become a teacher?
I am passionate about the youth and the minds of the youth. I needed the opportunity to be exposed to young minds; I needed a platform to positively influence the youth. I have an understanding that the school environment plays a vital role in the mental well-being of learners. Being a TEACH Ambassador has provided me with exposure to young minds, every day I get an opportunity to shape young minds and every day I get a chance to develop my own self. I get a stage upon which I can apply myself and transform young minds for the better. It is very important to me that learners are guided and nurtured to have a positive mind-set and a positive outlook about their lives and the future.
What have been your challenges as an Ambassador placed in a school and how have you overcome them?
When I arrived at the school, I found internal politics existing within the staff body. I also found that some of the staff might have been demotivated somewhere along the way and they had lost that desire to make a difference. I think dealing with negative attitudes and learning how to navigate the political landscape at the school have been my main challenges to date. I have used the resources available to me to try and create a positive environment that would allow me to make a difference and make an impact. I have been hosting School Assemblies in which the entire school is present and I have used that platform to positively influence the attitudes of learners and staff alike. I have embarked on building relationships with the staff I work closely with and I trying to learn from their experience. My focus has been on maintaining a positive attitude and keeping my eye on the bigger picture; what is best for the learners.
What have you found to be the most rewarding thing about being a TEACH Ambassador?
That I have found out things about myself I did not know before. Like I never believed that I like children, but upon being in the classroom and spending time with them; I have found out that I do in fact love children. I never thought that I would receive some of the love I gave to the children back, but to my surprise, I have gotten it back in multiples. The children listen to me and respect me. It makes me feel like the classroom is my space, it is a space that I have influence and control over. And I have made it a space of infinite dreams and possibilities.
What is your vision in life and how does education fit into it?
I am a very ambitious person and I believe that the future holds great prospects for me. In the near future I am going to pursue a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and later on I am thinking about doing my honours degree in Politics and International Relations. I envision myself looking at the different education policies of different countries, comparing and contrasting them to South African education policies and finding ways to improve the policies of this country so that they may provide the best learning experience for the learners.
If you had to give someone one reason to become an Ambassador or help in the education space; what would it be?
Education is the key to opportunity and success. Your gift, whatever it may be, has the potential to broaden Someone’s horizons and provide opportunities for others.