Gauteng continues to soar when it comes to matric results and very little or no credit is given to all the educators that work tirelessly to produce such outcomes. Thabo Thabane is one teacher whose hands continue to craft the future of today’s youth.
“My passion has always been teaching and learning. The love and passion of working with people, especially the youth, provides me with joy and happiness. Studying teaching or education connected well with the skills that I managed to acquire while I was teaching my fellow learners during my schooling years.”
You could say Thabo practices what he preaches as he’s dedicated his life to learning and studying.
“I studied a Bachelor of Education with the University of Johannesburg. Then I proceeded to further my studies to complete a Bachelor of Education Honours in Information Technology in Education BED (Bachelor of Education) and BED Hons ICT in Education (Bachelor of Education Honours Information Communication Technology in Education) qualifications at the University of Johannesburg.”
Thabo reflects on his upbringing and says his dreams almost didn’t see the light of day.
“My parents separated while I was at primary school. My dad left us for another woman and that nearly ended up ugly but by the grace of God we, with the help of my granny, managed to pass the storm. We had to continue living with my lovely grandmother and uncle. My mother and grandmother helped each other under harsh conditions to see that I grew up well without any challenges that would hinder my education and development as a child.”
Thabo vividly recalls the misfortunes that almost crippled him.
“My mother was unlucky not to get a job that she studied for but she managed to get a job at Shoprite Checkers. The situation was harsh and my mother had no option but to take my father to the Child Maintenance Court. And even though the money was so little, it assisted my mother. In the midst of it all, I didn’t give up in life. They had to send me to university with the little wages they managed to get from their different jobs.”
He had to carefully count his steps in life in order to become the Mathematics teacher he is today. He credits his community for shaping him.
“Ga-rankuwa is one of the townships that are still underdeveloped when it comes infrastructure of roads, grounds, and buildings; only now is at the verge of developing steadily. But it was a township that knew how to raise a child by instilling values of respect, values of culture for Batswana, the ethos of care for neighbors and companionship (morals). A community that valued academics and community development were important in those years.”
Talking about community, Thabo urges parents to be more involved in their children’s lives.
“There are teachers like me who knock off at 17:00 Monday to Friday to assist learners with their academics and other sporting or cultural activities. Others work on Saturdays and Sundays to help the learners. However, we are still challenged by lack of parental support. There are parents who don’t come to parent’s meetings; they only come at the beginning of the year only to complain.”
Thabo gives credit to his family for standing with him during rainy days.
“My family is supportive and always behind me. They don’t even compete with my work. They will rather call me to ask how I am. When June and November exams come they pray for my learners to do well in their exams. When they see bad news about teachers or learners being attacked at school, they become disturbed and end up even asking about my safety and my learners’ safety.”
The best things in life are not always seen but felt.
“The greatest achievement of my career was seeing my learners achieving university entrances and pursuing their different career paths. It was lovely to get advice from one of my learners who is currently a medical doctor when I had a terrible illness,” he concludes.
Tell us: What attributes have you learned from Thabo?