Retired teacher Fezeka Tsotsa, who has a passion for education, has made a pact with herself that she won’t let retirement be a stumbling block in her quest to share her vast knowledge and skills with educare teachers.
This comes after she opted to take on the daunting yet exciting journey of empowering these educare teachers with knowledge and skills in an effort to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
A group of seven teachers from Khayelitsha who had been attending an eight-week early childhood development (ECD) coaching programme conducted by Ms Tsotsa received their certificates of attendance last Saturday at Noluthando Educare Centre in Khayelitsha.
The teachers had been attending a round table workshop for three hours every Saturday to expand their knowledge.
The soft spoken Ms Tsotsa, who retired in 2017, after 38 years of teaching, said while she was still a teacher at Litha Primary School in Gugulethu she noted with concern that children coming from educare centres in the community were different from children who had been attending educare centres which were operating in schools.
She discovered that teachers from the educare centres in the community had not put much emphasis on monitoring and evaluation as much as they were working hard in moulding the children. She noted that many of these teachers were not fully empowered. This did not sit well with Ms Tsotsa.
The 61-year-old soft spoken mother of three gathered her strength and courage and approached various educare centres in Khayelitsha to pitch her idea of providing coaching.
She was glad when she received positive feedback and she started with 10 teachers but three stopped attending the coaching.
“My drive is to improve the quality of teaching from all phases of learning. I want to see children coming from educare centres ready for the foundation phase. I have used my own resources in ensuring that these programmes come to fruition until the end.
“’When I retired, I knew that this is something I wanted to do in order to give back to the community. I’’m not running a workshop because I believe that they have enough knowledge but I’m just coaching them and showing a bit of guidance,” she said.
Talking about the fears of embarking on this journey, she said she feared that people would reject her idea or think that she was trying to make money out of them.
But she was glad that she has received positive feedback and has vowed to continue with the programme.
One of the attendees, Cikizwa Mdliva, said she has improved knowledge. She said the programme has shown them the importance of evaluation and monitoring and how to ensure that children are properly guided.
Another attendee, Babalwa Tsawe, said it was important as educare teachers to continue enriching themselves with knowledge.
She said the workshops they attend were helpful but in many cases there was little time and a lot of issues raised and it was difficult to fully grasp everything.
However, she said with this kind of coaching it gives one plenty of time to reflect and grow as a teacher and mother in caring for children.
She said educare centres play a crucial role in preparing the children for the school phase and beyond.