Mentoring is increasingly seen as an effective way of supporting continued professional learning. Mentoring at Mwabu is relationship-oriented. Through frequent face to face sessions as well as on/ off-line engagement and interaction. We provide a safe environment and constantly strive to build a relationship where the mentee feels free to share real issues that affect his or her professional and personal success.
After an extensive intervention by Mwabu in collaboration with Mindset for the Department of Education, selected educators were able to give us some insights of the value of field mentorship.
We interviewed Mr S. Mvinjana from Emfundisweni Primary School in Alexandra Township who was a Mentee on the Ukusiza Project.
Name of Educator: Sinethemba Mvinjana
School: Emfundisweni Primary School
Role at School: Grade 6, Mathematics teacher
- Tell us about yourself and your teaching background? My name is Sinethemba Mvinjana and I am a Maths teacher at Emfundisweni Primary School. I started my career as a Temporary Educator in the Eastern Cape Province from 2008 until December 2011. When my contract was terminated, I decided to move to Gauteng Province, where I secured a permanent role at Emfundisweni Primary School.
- What motivated you to become a teacher? I am passionate about working with children and also love helping people.
- Were you aware of the Teacher Mentoring and Coaching Programme before the Department of Basic Education project? No, I was not aware.
- How did you feel about the process? At the moment, I am very happy with the results because I am gaining a lot of support about different strategies on how to deliver the CAPS Curriculum to the children and how to help them understand the concepts better.
- Do you feel consistent Mentoring and Coaching adds value for the teacher? Yes, it does add value to the educator and it makes us as teachers become more confident about what we implement in the classroom.
- What were the highlights of the process for you? This was the first time I was observed by an outside stakeholder. I really gained a lot from the discussions afterwards because I was able to reflect on my teaching practice, look at how to improve my teaching strategies and to cater for all the learners in my class with different abilities.
- When you were preparing for your lesson, did you feel you had to put in extra time and effort to prepare? I wanted to do my best so I prepared practical activities and exercise book activities for my learners.
- How real was the process when you watched yourself on the tablet and reflected on your practice? I was happy to see myself, but I could see that there were some challenges that I experienced in the lesson. I was nervous, but it felt good to be able to deliver the ‘goods for the learners’.
- If you had footage of yourself, would you prefer to do a self-reflective exercise? Both of these can help me for sure. I would like to practice the new style and approaches that will benefit my learners before the mentor can come in and mentor me.
- What challenges do you face presently as an Educator in the South African context?
Language of teaching and learning- with learners coming from the Township, they usually speak only their home language and they only speak English during class time. This is a challenge when we have to deliver the lessons in English and we sometimes code-switch to make sure learners understand the concepts.
In addition, we have overcrowded classrooms, lack of resources for each learner, and a lack of support or special training for teachers who work with learners who have extreme learning barriers