Youth Month Magic

In Youth Month we celebrate the youth tutors who are changing the experience of maths learning in young lives with love and laughter.

This year during Youth Month we focus on some of our talented youth tutors who show up every day for the children in their communities.

Mondli’s Maths Magic

Youth Month MagicIn Lyndhurst Primary’s foundation phase maths classes Mondli Ndaba (25) is working some minor miracles. “His unusual approach makes him a hot favourite with the children in the classroom,” says Programme Manager, Jabu Thomo. “Mondli is doing great work.”

It was hard when he first started at Lyndhurst Primary. “I struggled to connect with the children initially. Then I decided to try to entertain the children with funny accents – American, Nigerian – depending on my mood. If a child shows me some work that is incorrect, I don’t like to tell them they are wrong. Instead, I tell them that the answer is not correct on this planet and we’re not accepting answers from other planets today!”

That approach meant he was also entertaining himself and he realised he could thoroughly enjoy the work. “Sometimes a child can’t get the answer right, so I have a small chat and ask what they had for breakfast or what their favourite cartoon is. Then I use the cartoon characters to explain the maths in a different way,” he explained.

Mondli is not averse to adding unusual ways of walking into the classroom. A march or a jive… “Walking in a funny way – sometimes this makes the teacher laugh too. The children struggle to focus and easily get distracted, so at times I have to be firm to get them to do their work. I have a “strong” voice and I know how to be firm as needed. I had to figure that out for myself.”

“As for my future, I haven’t studied at all, but I figured that, since I’m currently interning as a teacher’s assistant, why not apply to study teaching?” The Grade Ones at Lyndhurst Primary would all vote for that!

Helping and happiness

Aphumelela Sibukwana (25) tutors at EdenRidge Primary School. Her hopes for the future include finishing her Early Childhood Development studies. “Once I’m done I’d like to get a permanent job. I care about teaching mathematics because it is the key to success. We need education to thrive and have a better future. As a JumpStart tutor, I do a lot in class,” she said.

“The NumberSense workbooks are written in the language used in that particular school. I teach the learners to read English and to understand the questions. I help them understand the value of numbers, and understand the difference between a plus and a minus sign. This helps learners apply the knowledge to the specific question, which makes me happy!”

Maths marks matter!

Baatseba Matlou

Baatseba Matlou (22) is in her third year of her LLB studies. She once cherished dreams of going into medicine, but this terrific tutor at EdenRidge Primary aims to help others reach their dreams. She shares her story:

“In high school I did pure maths so I understand how hard it can be. Because I’ve been through it, I know that teaching learners the basics will help them see that maths is not that hard. Well, it is hard, but then when you keep trying and putting in effort, it gets easier. I believe that JumpStart will help more learners make their way into the STEM sector.”

Mom and teacher, studies and laughter

Mmashela Rankapole (24) is a mom herself and an intern teacher at Maitjibulo Primary in Katlehong. In 2018 and 2019 she was awarded a JumpStart Certificate of Excellence for terrific work as a classroom tutor. She started an Educare certificate at Damelin but interrupted her studies to give birth. A year later, at UNISA, she registered for a B Ed but ran out of funds.

Despite the setbacks, Mmashela shared her hopes and aspirations: “When things don’t go well, I make a plan. I love to see children laughing. Caring for them, making sure they laugh… I want children to make progress. As they finish their exercise books I love to hand out praise. At home, my daughter, 4, loves colouring in the NumberSense books, tracing the number patterns, even though she doesn’t fully understand.”

She reflected on how many children are confused after staying home during the lockdown. Her life goals include completing her Bachelor of Education degree. “I hope to qualify as a teacher and work with children for the rest of my life. I want to teach interns one day, teach them how to talk to children at each stage – infant, toddler, Grade 1, and so on. I am hoping to get funds to complete my studies,” she concluded.

A life changer!

Based at Maitjibulo Primary in Katlehong, Sewela Sethaba (29) says, “We try to use our time wisely to assist kids who are still struggling with mathematics. I aim to upgrade my matric because I would really love to study teaching. I love working with kids. JumpStart has really changed my life.”

Future Principal in training…

“I am deeply honoured to share my future hopes and dreams,” said Modise Thelingoane (22), a Keketso Primary School tutor. “My core values are courage, honesty, and discipline. They drive me towards success when I face difficult tasks! I see myself as an inspirational person who always shows ambition, dedication and commitment. Coming from a disadvantaged family, I want to succeed so that those around me may reap the benefits. This includes putting food on the table and educating my four younger brothers so that they can do the same for others.”

Modise sees mathematics as a universal language. “I’ve realised this since joining JumpStart. We walk maths, we talk maths, and we even sleep maths. I enjoy working with children especially during their early development. Some people think the difficult grades are 10, 11, and 12, but studies have shown that it’s preschool and grade R. The child learns to read and write in these formative years. Before joining JumpStart I helped my younger brother with his school work. Now I’m able to help him even more,” he says.
One day he hopes to be recognised as one of the best teachers in Katlehong, where he grew up. “I would like to make a change for people who need it here. Who knows, I might actually be a principal one day. That would be my highest honour.”

Support makes the difference

Your support could impact South Africa’s future teachers! Please consider a donation to The JumpStart Foundation Trust. Your contribution will fund the studies of high potential youth. Partner with us and qualify for your SARS Section 18(a) certificate or to meet your BBEEE obligations. Email Betty Oliphant for more information.

Sewela Sechaba celebrates Youth Day with learners who are learning to love maths!
Sewela Sechaba celebrates Youth Day with learners who are learning to love maths!
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