Eastern Cape Education department awards best teachers

Teachers who received awards on the day. Photo by Mbulelo Sisulu

In a province that always lags behind in matric results every year, the Eastern Cape Education Department held an awards ceremony at the Osner Hotel, East London on Thursday to recognise innovation and excellence in teaching.

East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa

In a province that always lags behind in matric results every year, the Eastern Cape Education Department held an awards ceremony at the Osner Hotel, East London on Thursday to recognise innovation and excellence in teaching.

The National Teacher Awards are meant to honour dedicated, creative and effective teachers. These awards are meant to encourage best practice in class.

Nominees for the awards in 10 categories were drawn from rural and urban schools. The awards are for excellence in primary and secondary school teaching and leadership, excellence in grade R teaching, special needs teaching, enhanced teaching, teaching mathematics and natural science, and life time achievement.

Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula, said it is important to encourage people who are doing well in their work so that best practices are fostered. “It is a challenge to be a teacher. There are times where you feel like you cannot go to work maybe because you got into an argument with your kids or partner at home and that affects your mood. As a teacher, no matter what happens at home you have to be at school to teach kids and pretend as if nothing happened to you. But under those different difficulties you manage to shine,” he said.

Makupula added that when learners work hard they are praised but when they perform badly, you will hear parents and community members blaming the teachers.

One of the winners of the day, Xoliswa Pikwa who is a teacher at Mount Ayliff Junior Secondary School, was awarded as the best mathematics teacher in the Eastern Cape.

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She credited her enthusiasm and determination to go the extra mile: “I love mathematics with all of my heart. Basically, I wanted to be a doctor but my parents could not afford to pay the fees for medical school. But I vowed to produce doctors through my teaching. Now I have produced seven doctors by these hands. This award means I must continue working more and more,” she said.

Eastern Cape NAPTOSA shop steward, Natalie Osteridge says NAPTOSA is happy that teachers have been recognised for their work in the classroom and in the community. “These teachers are doing more than what is expected of them. They work more than seven hours. As NAPTOSA, we believe that the learner comes first and the teacher should always be in the classroom,” she said.

Eastern Cape SADTU representative, Dr Shirley Besman says it is a good initiative that the Education Department has taken. “There is no place where teachers get motivation about their good work that they do in our schools. Teachers are known as people who are lazy to do their work and they are the ones who make results of grade 12 to be poor. We are very happy as this union,” she said.

Rural and township schools in the Eastern Cape are under-resourced. Most schools do not have a functioning library, science or computer laboratory. Some schools do not even have science or mathematics teachers.

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