- Written by Pat Pughe-Parry
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Great South African Teachers produced by Jonathan Jansen with Nangamso Koza and Lihlumelo Toyana is the most inspirational book I have read this year. I believe this book should be compulsory reading for every teacher and trainee teacher throughout the world. Teens who are struggling to find the benefit in education will also be inspired by the stories shared.
In 500 to 700 words about 150 individuals pay tribute to a special teacher who made a difference in his or her life regardless of race, age, gender or creed. From the 1940s to 2010 there are inspirational stories of teachers whose passion for education goes way beyond the prescribed school curriculum.
What was truly inspirational for me was how many of them followed their heroes into the teaching profession.
Apart from their passion for education, these teachers each had their own unique style. The book has identified 7 categories of teacher to group the stories.
• The Subject Artist
• The Courageous Activist
• The Inspiring Mentor
• The Life Performer
• The Soft Disciplinarian
• The Tough-Love Coach
• The Extended Parent.
As a "White" South African I was entranced by the stories recounted by past pupils who had found that special teacher doing amazing work despite Bantu Education constraints. Somehow these teachers managed to inspire a love of language, maths and critical thinking skills while having to teach in schools with few resources. The common theme was that education sets you free.
A few quotes to inspire you to get reading it too.
"We were further surprised by the lack of attention to formal academic performance .... It was the shaping of character, the influence on choices .... the passion for teaching ... that mattered. (pg 11)"
"How can you provide a first-class education in South Africa in a homogenous environment? What would be the point of bringing girls from all economic, social and racial groups to Parktown High School for Girls and not giving them an excellent education." (Mrs Anthea Cereseto talking to Gillian Godsell) pg 52
"Perhaps the day will come when South Africa can make teaching so attractive in financial and other terms that there is fierce competition for posts. Then, only the very best can be selected to create a great future. Some countries in the world have managed this, why not us? "(Victor Rodseth pg 35)
Before purchasing my own copy I came across this book in my local library. Does your school library have a copy? If not it should!
Details of the book
Great South African Teachers
A Tribute to South Africa’s great teachers from the people whose lives they have changed.
Jonathan Jansen with Nangamso Koza and Lihlumelo Toyana
ISBN – 978-1-920434-24-3
Cost: Approximately R170.00