Moleboheng Hoffman – JumpStart tutors help Buyani Primary recover

Moleboheng Hoffman
Moleboheng Hoffmann (25) is one of the tutors at Buyani Primary School in Finetown.

Moleboheng Hoffman is a tutor at Finetown’s Buyani Primary School, which has an interesting history. It started in 2008 in a container and with the help of the Buyani Education Trust, grew to have ten classrooms. The school, which is based in an impoverished area, had an especially difficult year in 2021. With the help of ForGood we were able to raise some funds to contribute to workbooks where parents could not afford them. We have also secured 50 devices via Labdoo which now await the lifting of travel restrictions for use at the school. Grassroots interventions and innovative approaches are essential to extremely under-resourced communities which are hard to reach. We are grateful for those who supported this school during a profoundly difficult time.

As  COVID-19 dragged on for a second year, the school’s much loved principal, Mr Lazarus Baloyi, was shot and killed. We are particularly grateful to our tutors on the ground — Keneuwe Lisenyane, Kenneth Sengwatse, Mduduzi Mahlambi and Moleboheng Hoffman. This impressive foursome continued rendering assistance to their colleagues at the school, while aiding the traumatised children. They set the tone by continuing with the much-needed learning in the wake of the tragedy, upholding the high standards set for JumpStart tutors. They lived up to Mr Baloyi’s expectations of them and their efforts to honour his memory did not go unnoticed.

Chatting to Moleboheng Hoffman (25)

Moleboheng started at the school in 2019 and described the difficult transition from retail to education: “I came with my mind full of customer service and making sure my uniform was neat, ready to serve my customers!” She found it difficult to transition to children aged 5 to 10 and had to learn patience. She says, “Monitoring children was a real challenge. Some could not write nor read, but that didn’t stop me. I pulled myself together and chose to believe in them, our next generation. They need to develop digital learning skills so I decided to become a great teacher. I learnt to understand and respect them. From that point onwards, we made progress.”

Taking time to explain

She remembers a disruptive boy who refused to write: “Even the class teacher had given up on him. There and then I said, ‘Not on my watch!’ I took time to learn about him and discovered what the problem was. Gradually he opened up about neglect at home with nobody to believe in him. I provided counter cubes and taught him to count on his own. The we worked on a timeline, counting backwards to gain an understanding of our NumberSense workbook. He started sitting down during lessons and began to raise his hand, giving the correct answers. Soon enough he was the first to complete the NumberSense workbook,” she says, glowing with pride on his behalf. Thanks to a patient tutor who made maths fun instead of difficult this young boy was soon making good progress in his other subjects!

Goodbye to a father figure

“In June we lost our great principal, Mr Baloyi,” says Molebohang. “He always came into watch us teaching and showed great concern for any of us who needed to leave school early. He believed in us and always wanted the best. When he discovered I was struggling with a disrespectful Grade 5, who was almost my height, he intervened on my behalf and secured an apology from the  rude boy. That turned things around!”

Moleboheng with her colleagues Mduduzi, Keneuwe and Kenneth before COVID-19 struck!

Post traumatic stress hit hard for the team. “I had flashbacks every time I used the entrance where he died. Sometimes in class I felt panic … But I spoke to my JumpStart colleague, Liesl Jobson who helped me regain strength as I talked over my fears. We had offers of help and counselling which enabled us to remain positive on behalf of our learners.

“I am also grateful for Jennifer Seif, who helped me focus on a research project, which took my mind off the tragedy. At first I didn’t believe in myself. She encouraged me to recognise my own ability, as did our Human Resources manager, Leizel Frances. I progressed as a personal assistant teacher for Mrs Nikiwe Makhubo, a Grade 2 teacher, who believed in me and mentored me towards completing a computer course over six months. With my new found computer literacy I could assist her in DBE responsibilities. Her belief in me was inspirational!”

Tutors learning from tutoring!

Moleboheng Hoffman concludes, saying, “During my years in JumpStart I have learnt a lot. It’s quite a list! I’ve acquired teaching and maths skills, classroom management, analytical and critical thinking skills, plus I’ve developed leadership qualities. Willingness to work together to create communal problem solving are valuable attitudes in any team. So too, research and computer skills, including digital skills will prove invaluable in my career. Before joining JumpStart I wanted to be a Public Prosecutor, but due to my marks and other challenges that goal fell away. I have now learned more things and my mind is always thinking big. I have business ideas and perhaps I will be an entrepreneur in time…

How can you change a life?

“This programme has been life changing for many tutors,” says Moleboheng Hoffman, “giving us a platform to further our studies. As we strive to transform underperforming classrooms into centres of maths and science excellence, so we are also transformed.” Do you want to make a difference to our country’s future? Please partner with us to increase the impact of our programme at Buyani Primary School while we create much needed youth employment. Email Betty Oliphant for more information. Alternatively, head to our donations page to make a financial donation.

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