Terrific 20-something mathematics tutors learn and hope

JumpStart’s mathematics tutors kicked off 2020 with a whole lot of hope! These 20-year-olds gained many new skills at the orientation event in January. They also learned about the programme as they met returning tutors. Project Coordinator, Zintle Makumsha, chatted to four tutors about their experience at a workshop in January.

How we learn to think

Siwaphiwe Mtintsilana (22) who tutors at Tshabalala Primary said, “I learned that mathematics is not only about getting the right answer. It’s equally about the process of getting to the desired destination.”

The discussions around learning excited him. Siwaphiwe said, “I am interested in how we learn to think critically and how we find the reasons behind what we do. Of course, I’m fascinated by how we teach this skill to the children in our care. For example, I use public transport to and from school. When fuel prices increase and decrease from time to time, so does the taxi fare. Most people avoid sitting in the front seat because you are obliged to count the money. I find this effortless, thanks to my understanding of fundamental principles of mathematics.”

Siwaphiwe’s personal dream is to use maths and his electrical engineering ambitions to solve the problem of load shedding and power distribution. Good luck, Siwaphiwe. All power to your calculations!

Hands and fingers and telling the time

Shiluba Maluleke (25) who tutors at Alexandra’s Bovet Primary School found it helpful to learn about motivating learners. These include demonstrating examples in class using hands and fingers, counting games, as well as practical examples on the board. Her three-year-old daughter, Gracious, is already eager to learn to tell the time! A daily challenge for many is taking the taxi: “Not everybody can calculate their fare. Basic mathematical literacy is a vital life skill that everyone needs.”

Different methods of problem solving

Nkenzy Rachoene (23) also tutors at Bovet. Her daughter, Phomello, motivates her to get up every morning. This little girl (2) can already count to ten. “I want to develop my career to give her a better chance in life,” said this proud mum. “I learned that everybody has a unique manner of thinking and different problem solving methods. Some kids are faster, and some count slowly. Some can count in twos or fives, and others can’t count at all. I learned to group them according to their ability, to start afresh where there are blocks, to give them time, and always to be patient.”

Helping kids who struggle

Sibongiseni Mbolekwa (27) started her day’s training feeling a bit uncertain. “I never thought I could do this, but I was fascinated to learn how JumpStart started and how NumberSense works.” She enjoyed meeting other new tutors and has adjusted well to the work at Cathula Primary. Learners welcome her with excitement when she arrives. This spurs her on. “There is huge satisfaction in helping kids who struggle,” she said. “Seeing them arrive at understanding is so rewarding.” Since coming onboard at JumpStart, Sibongiseni has committed to a career in education. She shared her dream with Zintle: “One day I hope to become a school principal!”

There’s every hope that 2020 will prove to be a year of amazing growth for these young mathematics tutors. Youth careers often take interesting turns, so watch this space. We will follow up on their progress.

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