Terrific 20-something tutors share their learning and their hopes

JumpStart’s orientation events kicked off earlier this year with the dual aim of introducing new tutors to the programme and getting to know more about those who were returning. Project Coordinator, Zintle Makumsha, chatted to four of the tutors about their experience at a kick off workshop in January.

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

He was excited by the discussions around learning. Siwaphiwe said, “I am interested in how we learn to think critically, how we find the reasons behind what we do and, of course, how we teach this skill to the children in our care.”

“For example, I use public transport to and from school and fuel prices increase and decrease from time to time - as 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 understanding the fundamental principles of mathematics.”

Siwaphiwe has a personal dream 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!

Shiluba Maluleke (25) who tutors at Alexandra’s Bovet Primary found it helpful to learn about the best ways to motivate 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.”

Nkenzy Rachoene (23) also tutors at Bovet. Her daughter, Phomello, motivates her to get up every morning. At two-and-a-half, this little girl 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 at the workshop 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.”

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 where the learners' excited welcome 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!”

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