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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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Sagel Kundieko stock photo

Thinking about thinking in Women’s Month – a guest contribution

How are women’s brains different to men’s? What does this mean for tutors supporting girls in the classroom? How do women’s own experiences of learning impact on their studies? Final year B Sc student, Sagel Kundieko, posed these questions during Women’s Month. Sagel spends many hours deep in her books on human anatomy, physiology, and genetics. As a result, her fascination with neuroscience led her to consider women’s brains. She was intrigued to discover that perception, attention, memory, language and executive function operate differently in men and women. Females typically have the upper hand in verbal fluency, perceptual speed, accuracy and fine motor skills. By contrast, males do better in spatial, and working memory. The thinking woman is aware Cognitive efficiency in women is due to the fact that the female brain switches more fluently between the left and right hemispheres. Consequently, women process information faster in all sorts of wonderful and productive ways. Let […]

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Automotive machinist Lerato Molete is following her passion.

Q&A with JumpStart alumnus, automotive machinist Lerato Molete – video

Falling in love with mathematics as a student kickstarted Lerato Molete’s career as an apprentice automotive machinist. “There’s no job a woman can’t do,” she says, excited about sharing her story during Women’s Month. A woman in a man’s world Under the protective gloves she wears to strip the burnt out engine of an earth mover is a delicate diamond ring on her fourth finger. Lerato is mother to Ntokozo, 3, and wife to Nkosinathi Mlotshwa, a boilermaker at Sasol. “Our son’s name means happiness, pride, and joy. He certainly brings us all that. With engineering as a common interest, our relationship is rather unusual,” she says. Lerato is one of two female apprentices at Metric Automotive Engineering, a company that specialises in remanufacturing diesel engines. Lerato works in the block section, where the team rebores cylinder blocks on earthmoving, marine, mine, truck engines, and similar. Her responsibility is to diagnosis the problems and to […]

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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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