I am a teacher. I owe my being to the beautiful children I am entrusted to educate.
The year 2020 began with endless possibilities. I was to teach grade 1 for the first time. I was filled with motivation to mould the minds of my highly impressionable learners. I wanted to teach them skills that would last them a lifetime.
I excitedly looked forward to greeting them each morning. Seeing their eyes light up when I called their names to acknowledge their presence at school. Feeling their warm embrace before they left for home was unmistakably the most rewarding experience each day.
For a few months all went well but how short lived the moments were. How little we knew. “Lockdown” was a word that was even new to me. Suddenly my life was filled with fears and anxiety. My thoughts were flooded with countless questions. While we were tucked away in our homes, shut off from the world, my minds could only picture the beaming eyes of little Aneliswa who patiently waited to “Show me” her pencil. She was ready for the day; I could see the wide smiles of my grade 1 learners as I walked down the corridor towards them. My heart sank. What are they going to do? They had only just begun their journey. They had so much to learn, there was so much I wanted to teach them.
Whatsapp became my new classroom
My concern prompted me start a ‘Whats App’ group with the parents of my grade 1 learners. Perhaps in my absence I could provide some sort of support to these dear parents who would have to take on the added responsibility. I was urged to provide a structured learning experience even though learners were at home. I needed my learners to remember that they were “Smart Kids” and all was not lost.
Both mums and dads alike getting involved. Educating their children now became the priority and I felt like a fountain which provided fresh water.
What started off with a mere 5 parents increased drastically with parents wanting to join the group with more urgency. Both mums and dads alike getting involved. Educating their children now became the priority and I felt like a fountain which provided fresh water. It was a priceless experience. Seeing video recordings of my learners reading extracts I would send them was even more fulfilling.
Back to School
Getting back to school posed many challenges but then I remembered “I am a teacher” I owe my being to the beautiful children I am entrusted to educate. I found myself once again rejuvenated. I had a new vigour. I remembered my purpose. With my heart and mind in the right frame, I set out to walk this journey with my learners. We were in this together.
We learnt that although we couldn’t physically hug each other, we could give each other “Air hugs”. Although we couldn’t see each other’s smiles we could show affection using our eyes. Although we were distanced from each other, we were still present.
While this Pandemic might have slowed us down. While it may have taken so much of our time, I find myself so content with the thought that I have gained the respect and co-operation of my parent component and I have also undoubtedly gained the admiration of my learners.
Such knowledge is so wonderful. I will persevere, I will endure.
I am a teacher and I owe my being to the beautiful minds I am entrusted to educate.