In light of the abnormal year we experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday’s World Teacher’s Day was commemorated with the theme “teachers at the heart of education recovery”.
The day aimed to highlight the responsibilities, rights and value of teachers across the globe.
A primary school teacher in Alexandra, Clara Maleka, said her fondest memories included seeing pupils matriculate and start to create a better life for themselves.
“This year marks 25 years since I have been teaching and my fondest memory as a teacher is seeing the pupils I taught finish school and qualify for scholarships and bursaries.
“Because I teach underprivileged pupils, who do not always take school seriously, witnessing this makes me happy because I contributed towards that and am certain they will do well in their lives,” she said.
Teacher’s Day is about highlighting the rights and value of teachers, but Maleka said: “As teachers we are not recognised or given the respect we deserve.
“The parents of pupils where I teach don’t recognise us or the work we do, they see us as nuisances who always giving their children homework and don’t bother to be part of their children’s schooling by helping with homework and projects.
“The parents are usually ready to fight with teachers who at the end of the day want what is best for their children’s futures.”
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) saluted teachers who continuously played a role in ensuring education continued during the pandemic.
“They had to adapt to new ways of teaching using online platforms to reach their pupils, had to be counsellors to pupils who lost their parents and teachers, had to be safety officers to ensure their schools complied with the health and safety guidelines and had to sacrifice their precious time with families by teaching during weekends and holidays to make up for the lost time,” said Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke.
Maluleke said the union was calling for an increased investment in the wellbeing and training of teachers.
“We need education for our economy to recover, for South Africa to be more productive.”