Star teacher of the week

27 April 2021 | Education

Theresia Carolina Esterhuizen

Mariental Primary School

Teacher for grade 1

When and why did you decide to become a teacher?

In 2014 I started with teaching. One of the best teachers I ever had was my high school English teacher, Mr ¦Haigomab. I was inspired by his unconventional techniques, and I strive to bring the same passion for innovative ways of learning to my classroom. He is one of the major reasons I pursued a teaching career. His ability to guide students, his fairness, and his sense of justice inspired me to bring these things into my own classroom.

Becoming a teacher allowed me to impart life lessons to others that they will never forget and puts you in a position to influence their decisions, behaviours, strengths, weaknesses and imagination. Becoming a teacher lets you take part in shaping the next generation. The satisfaction of contributing to your community. The passion, caring and loving for the learners is my favourite part.

What is the best part about being a teacher?

Effective teaching involves aligning the three major components of instruction: learning objectives, assessments, and instructional activities.

The ability to develop relationships with their students is something I love. A great teacher develops relationships with students and is patient, caring, and has a kind personality.

The best thing about being a teacher is seeing learners learn and seeing them "get it." That moment is what makes it all worthwhile: the prep work, the hassles, and the planning. When what you planned the night before, makes a connection with a learner, and they learn something they did not know before.

Can you tell us of your journey towards becoming a teacher?

This part is very emotional for me. I had tough time when my grandmother, who had raised me, passed on when I was in high school, but the Almighty has been good to me.

The dream of success motivates me to study. I’m studying to be a school teacher because I believe that children can achieve so much more if they learn early of their potential. Education has always been my priority. I pushed myself through the rough spots for my late grandmother. I was a lost child in high school. No child should have to experience that. As an educator, I am committed to helping my learners succeed, achieve more, and continue onto higher education. Every child should be given the opportunity to showcase their strengths and follow their dreams. I aspire to make a difference in others’ lives through education. My late grandmother taught me as a child that schooling was vital to be successful in life. Truly, that lesson has been the most important in my path to college. I don’t think I would’ve made it this far had I not taken my education seriously.

What is the highlight of your teaching career?

As a teacher, you are giving children the skills they need to go out into the world and succeed. As a teacher I get to help build the self-esteem of learners. Teaching isn't all about learning ABC's and 123's. You get to work in a fun, creative setting and every day is different and exciting. You get to make learning fun.

When you see in the face of a pupil the visible signs of the 'got it '-moment and he/she tell you: 'Now I get it” is my favourite part.

Can you name a class and year you will never forget and why?

Previous years I was teaching pre-primary and in 2016 I started to teach grade 1 and my dear people it was a nightmare for me.

I can remember my first day, because I was nervous but also thrilled that I was actually getting paid to do something I loved. I saw how important teachers are to build effective, engaging learning environments.

The first year of teaching is the hardest. While being an educator is never without its struggles, the first year is by far the most challenging. It is filled with idealism, confusion, good intentions, excitement, fear, and expectations.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy embroidery, sewing and knitting.

What lessons have you learned from your learners?

Listening, accepting others for who they are and being there.

I think the biggest thing that I have learned is how important positive feedback and recognition is. Learners will work harder in your class if they feel successful. How can you make students feel successful? Compliment them on the skills that you want them to continue to utilise. Reinforce the behaviour that you want them to do and when they are doing well. Praise them for using those skills and behaviours. It’s a win-win: they feel successful and are likely to continue or increase those behaviours.

They have taught be to never fail to try. I have learned what it really means to live in poverty, and gained an appreciation for the drive, ambition, and pride that some students have, against all odds.

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