27 July 2010
It has been many years since her teaching days, but Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga returned to the front of the class on Monday to give teachers at the Winnie Ngwekazi Primary school in Soweto tips on how it should be done.
English text book in one hand and chalk in the other, Motshekga spent more than two hours reading with grade 3 students. She then explained the content of the story, greatly amusing the kids by referring to them as “angel” and “baby boy” or “baby girl” when answering their questions.
“You must read loud and with confidence, like the presenters on TV,” Motshekga told the children.
After reading, it was time for a spelling lesson. “Take out your pen, write today’s date and – no cheating,” she warned. The students did not disappoint, spelling most of the words correctly.
The minister, who visited the school as part of activities to mark Mandela Month, encouraged the kiods to read a book at least once a week. “If you see a book or newspaper, read it, and if there is a word you don’t understand, go to your dictionary and check its meaning, and you’ll become clever kids.
“The secret to success is through reading, and if you pass well, we’ve got a government who will pay for your [university] fees and you can be what you want to be,” Motshekga said.
School principal Pumla Mabilo said they were impressed with Motshekga’s teaching skills. “We are humbled by her visit and have picked up on her teaching skills and will implement them, as our aim is to remain the school of excellence,” Mabilo said.
Grade 4 science teacher Bheki Radebe said the minister’s visit showed the school that she cared and had encouraged the teachers to do their best.
“Challenges are always there in schools, but we deal with them; if you know your story, you don’t panic when the minister comes to your school,” Radebe said.
Motshekga acknowledged the teachers, saying they had maintained a high standard of learning in the school.
“I’m so impressed. There’s order in the school, the kids are very bright and the school is very clean. I’m also impressed with the school’s Life Orientation Programme, which is very important to help them to work through their difficulties,” she said.