Blog by Sothwe Maswuma – MST Petra Diamonds Trainer
Growing up I NEVER wanted to be a teacher. Reason? Both my parents were teachers – my dad was a principal in fact. We had everything we needed, but with six kids to feed, you can imagine that at times financially it was hard. My parents are the best and they did well under the circumstances, but like most children, I wanted more lavish things. I just needed more. I decided from an early age that a teachers’ salary was not going to cut it for me. I had big dreams (a big car, big house and fancy clothes in mind). I therefore needed a HUGE pay check to pay for all my desires. So I studied Metallurgical Engineering in an attempt to make my dreams a reality. Six months after getting a job at a consulting company, the mining industry started going down. I had been placed at a Uranium mine and by June/July that year, the price of uranium had reduced by about 40 percent. Meaning the profit the mine was making also went down by 40 percent. Needless to say, this had a negative impact on the mine and the following year saw the project not being renewed and me retrenched.
After struggling to find a job in this hard pressed industry, something happened that I would NEVER have considered in my childhood. I became – you guessed it – a teacher? No not a teacher, but an Assistant Trainer. So you didn’t guess it, haha. What does Assistant Trainer mean you ask? Well, my job description includes providing extra lessons for students in Physical Science, helping teachers understand some topics that are more challenging for them, and also helping kids develop life skills that will pay a great reward in the future. So my job covers every aspect needed for maximizing student potential. There are some aspects of teaching involved, so your guess was not completely off – smiles…
Anyway… I have found this job to be more REWARDING than I could have ever expected. It’s AMAZING to have the opportunity to help build kids lives and provide guidance and direction. I love it when after going through a challenging topic, the same kids start to get it and then are able to answer similar difficult questions on their own and even help other students who are not there yet. When I have those moments in my class, I feel so proud and even at a loss for words. It motivates me to keep working hard in order to have these moments more often, because I am of the firm belief that with enough practise (hard work), any CHALLENING topic will become an EASY topic for my learners.
I also now see the teaching profession in a different light. I used to think that teaching was something you studied when you had failed to get into more lucrative professions (e.g Metallurgical Engineering). It’s not that at all. Rather, it’s having the privileged opportunity to shape and mould the future (which is our children of course).