Passionate teacher strives to improve results

Nomakholwa Gxowa addresses a group of pupils who attend her after-school programme.

Parents are often caught up with their daily household chores and have little or no time to help their children with their school work.

It is for this reason that Nomakholwa Gxowa, a teacher at Kukhanyile Primary School, in Site B, decided to start an after-school programme.

Talking to Vukani, Ms Gxowa said she discovered that many parents in the township were illiterate and battled to assist their children with their school work.

She said today’s education system required parents’ full involvement in their children’s schoolwork, but for many parents this was a mammoth task.

When she started the programme in 2012, she had 30 children attending classes from Monday to Thursday.

She has 90 children attending the programme and the number is growing.

“Teaching is my passion and I will never trade it for anything. I have been teaching for 28 years now. The syllabus keeps changing every time and parents are not equipped with skills, knowledge and ways to better assist their children with their schoolwork. That is where I come in to fill that gap and provide one-on-one sessions with the pupils to better understand their challenges and find ways to overcome them. English, Xhosa and maths were some of the subjects that the pupils grappled with. As a result, the programme centred on those subjects so that they can master them. Reading and writing were some of the additional challenges, which they battled with as well. My husband who is a retired teacher also assists me in attending to some of the problems the pupils have,” she said.

The programme also strives to empower the pupils with life-changing skills to enable them to make wise and informed decisions about their future.

Ms Gxowa believes that the programme plays a vital role in preventing the pupils from being lured towards gangsterism and other social ills.

The programme also provides extramural activities to the pupils, such as games and dancing.

The programme caters for Grade 1 to Grade 7 pupils, but even those who are in high school are more than welcome to attend.

Looking back at some of the issues she has faced, Ms Gxowa said parents were initially sceptical about the programme, thinking she wanted to make money from them, but she now has their support.

“When the parents realised that I was not doing this because I wanted money that is when they started to open their arms and encouraged their children to attend the programme frequently. The children don’t a pay cent to attend the programme. The few books that I use to teach the children I bought them and the snacks the pupils eat after the programme I buy them from my own pocket and I don’t want their parents’ money because I’m doing this to create a better future for their children,” she said.

The initiative has yielded the desired results because the pupils’ vocabulary has expanded and the pass rate has improved, she said.

Eluxolweni Primary School Grade 4 pupil, Lutho Nyongane, who attends the programme, said he was grateful to Ms Gxowa for starting the programme because it has really helped him improve his marks and keeps him away from doing wrong things.

He said both his parents are working and do not have time to assist him with his school work. “I can now speak English with confidence and I was struggling with maths, but now I’m acing it, “ he said.

Ms Gxowa said a lack of reading material and limited space are some of her current challenges. If you can help, call 073 596 1260.