With the COVID-19 pandemic and the great changes that this has brought mentors and mentees have had to work on platforms they never faced before. As a mentor, I now had to provide the skills and support to my mentees virtually using various methods of technology. This was challenging yet rewarding.
One of my mentees, rose above all odds to ensure teaching and learning was effectively delivered to the learners amidst the lock down challenges. Overnight her work allocation and workload had escalated. She had to adapt and adjust from being a Grade 4 to a Grade 7 Natural Science Educator. This was an additional stressor amidst the anxiety, apprehension, confusion, insecurities, difficulties that arrived with the pandemic. I now had to take mentorship a step further up.
My support had to take a different role. I guided and motivated her with content support, research, and also helped her deal with uncertainties, stress and anxieties. I endeavored to maintain our shared goal to create ‘A love for learning and a thirst for knowledge’ with regular and encouraging communications.
Delivering science lessons with very scarce resources was not a limiting factor for her but rather a stimulating one. Taking into account that learners could be despondent, discouraged and anxious, she made every effort to change their learning experience into an exciting one. Her determination and dedication really stood out when she wanted to conduct this visually appealing science experiment.
To achieve her goal, she needed litmus paper which was unattainable. She turned to me for assistance. I underestimated the difficulty and challenge of this task. I was determined to exhaust all avenues to meet her request. After weeks of unsuccessful attempts, I reached the trough of my way of search but I was not ready to give up. I ploughed through and eventually, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I was successful in getting the litmus paper.
Reflection of the chemistry lesson revealed to be exciting and an astounding one. Learners were attentive, compliant and enthusiastic. The visual changes with Litmus created a better understanding of the content and most of all it became the joy factor of the lesson.
Written by Pamala Naicker