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Life under lockdown #6: Tumelo Mokoena builds firm foundations

Tumelo Mokoena is a tutor at Mohlodi Primary School, where he inspires a love of maths to learners in Grades 1,2 and 3. This 22-year-old says that teaching maths has greatly changed since he was in primary school. “Especially, if you consider lockdown learning, teaching via smartphones and devices!” As a tutor he is eager to share his new knowledge with those around him. “Education is not an individual pursuit and I enjoy teaching as well as learning from other tutors,” he explains. Tumelo started a degree focused on politics, but that didn’t go well. He thought about his particular strengths and realised that assisting other people enlivened him. Now he’s studying a B Ed through UNISA with the help of a StudyAssist bursary from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.  Tutored not tortured Tumelo loves teaching maths and wants to empower the children in his care. He says, “Most of my learners are excited, […]

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Simphiwe Mtshali

Life under lockdown #5: Simphiwe Mtshali gains new skills

Once upon a time, when Simphiwe Mtshali was working in a health spa, where Women’s Month meant doing lots of manicures and massages. This year, during Covid-19 lockdown, she has been massaging numbers and building children’s futures online. From beauty therapist to maths tutor was a substantial career shift, but the journey continued in ways she hadn’t anticipated during lockdown. “I was lucky to find a job with JumpStart in 2019, which changed my life. This unlocked my newfound passion for teaching,” she says. “Now I’m using WhatsApp groups to teach maths to foundation phase learners!” Flipping from paper to digital Before Covid-19, all the mathematics teaching that happened at Sekgutlong Primary School was paper-based, with learners writing in pencil in their NumberSense workbooks. This is one of 20 schools that is funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. After the president’s announcement of lockdown, all that changed. JumpStart tutors assisted in the roll […]

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Q&A with JumpStart alumnus, Siduduzile Mthembu

Early Childhood Development (ECD), entrepreneurship, and dreams of becoming a speech therapist motivate JumpStart success story, Siduduzile Mthembu. There’s nothing small about her educational ambitions, which took some time to get going. There’s everything big about her determination to come back from hard times. Her life’s focus now is her work as an educator, entrepreneurship, and the dream of becoming a speech therapist. These things keep her in the books – literally and metaphorically. She wants to make a real difference to Katlehong, the community she cares about most. Sometimes you take a detour to get to where you’re supposed to be… How did it all start? After matriculating at Alafang High School I started an accounting diploma at Mangosuthu University of Technology in 2009. Plans didn’t go well. The stress of my studies and the pressure of changing my family’s future led to depression. Although it felt like failure, the skills I learned informed […]

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Youth careers: dreaming for real

Youth careers are a fluid thing. Times are changing. New careers exist that our parents have never even heard of. Doors close and window open. What do you want to be when you grow up? Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true! Because we’re human, we’re born with the capacity to imagine our lives. While some children drive fire trucks or police cars; others bandage their brothers or doctor their dolls; and future choir conductors teach the neighbourhood kids to sing… What makes you lean in to life? The lucky ones amongst us knew early and exactly what they wanted to do. They seemed to dance onto the stage of their adult lives, knowing the moves before anyone else had even learnt the rhythm. Many people – arguably most people – don’t get the chance to follow their dreams. They have to try out a number of steps, wander down various paths, […]

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Maths teachers give JumpStart top marks

Teachers give JumpStart top marks

At the end of every school year, when teachers have graded all the learners in their care, a group of Ekurhuleni South and Sasolburg teachers have one final report to write… That’s when all in JumpStart’s management team sit up straighter, awaiting their own report card! Project Director, Jabu Thomo, explains: “We administer a confidential survey with a representative sample of teachers at schools running our programme. In October 2019 we sampled 32 schools and received a total of 142 encouraging responses. We value this opportunity to see how JumpStart is doing so that we can continue to fulfil our mandate.” The survey measured teacher satisfaction and the impact of the programme. Additionally, it investigated the effectiveness of NumberSense workbooks and our interns, as well as teacher training, and where applicable, digital workbooks. Key findings from the 2019 survey Satisfaction with the NumberSense workbooks is especially high, followed by satisfaction with the performance of interns. […]

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