I was born on 12 June 2002 in Eersterust, Pretoria. I attended various primary and secondary schools and in a way, that made me a more diverse and openminded person.
At school I performed very well, both academically and on the sports field. I was elected deputy head boy and head of academics in my Grade 12 year. I was and still am a dedicated, hard working and loyal person. I was very self-disciplined, and would do my homework without my parent’s supervision.
Throughout my life, I always felt the need to make a difference, but in Grade 12, I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do or study after school. I only knew what I did not want to do, like working on machinery, or cutting into people or animals, arguing in a court of law, or doing peoples’ tax returns. I had so many choices, and yet I did not know where I belonged.
The lightbulb moment
On one Saturday after a leadership meeting at school, my mother picked me and my friend up from school. We were chatting in the car about our future plans, and he revealed that he would love to travel. I spoke about what I love and what I would prefer not to do in the future. My mother drove in silence but was listening to every word we were saying.
It was as if a light bulb went on, because when my friend got out the car, she talked to me about different careers, especially ones that seemed to suit me. We both then realised that teaching was the way forward for me; a career through which I could make a difference, even if was to just one child.
I wanted my life’s work to make an impact on the future of our country. I wanted to build a stronger youth, a stronger South Africa.
When we got home, I took my mother’s laptop and started searching for programmes and bursaries, since we did not have enough money for me to attend university. I knew deep down that if I wanted a university degree under my belt, I had to get into a bursary programme.
I had always had a love for mathematics and science, and that is how my mother discovered the ISASA South African Mathematics and Science Teacher Intern Programme (SAMSTIP). In our search for bursary options, we read about it and I knew the programme was the one for me. It sounds clichéd but it is true.
I completed the application process and was anxious as I waited to hear whether I had been accepted or not. Then I was jubilant when I heard that I had been accepted! My next challenge was finding a host school.
Growing up, my mother always wanted me to attend a Christian Brothers’ College (CBC) school. I e-mailed CBC Mount Edmund in Pretoria, asking if they could accommodate and mentor a student teacher.
Life at CBC Mount Edmund
The school invited me to an interview and agreed to be my host. The first term of 2020 went very well for me. I adapted to the environment and I developed a very good relationship with my mentor, but then COVID-19 struck and disrupted everything. I only returned to school in late August/early September and it was very different from what I experienced in the first term. However, I learnt to adjust.
2021 was a much better year for my growth and development as a future teacher. I learned much more and matured in the process. Even though COVID-19 disrupted the school rhythm, I was much more prepared for it.
2022 has been a smooth year so far – no hiccups as of yet. Let’s hope it stays that way.
To learn more about the SAMSTIP initiative, visit the ISASA website or contact Lesiba Langa, the SAMSTIP operations coordinator.
The SAMSTIP bursary programme targets school-leavers with university entrance passes and good marks in mathematics, science or English, or those with university credits or degrees in these subjects, receiving bursaries to study for a teaching degree. It covers the following expenses: UNISA tuition fees, prescribed textbooks, a small monthly stipend and an allowance for transport and accommodation.
Over and above the bursary award, students will be given the following opportunities: training at ISASA member schools, teaching and learning resources and technology, mentorship from qualified schoolteachers, and participation in academic enrichment programmes.