Teachers come top of class at awards night

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The province’s top 10 teachers, who will represent the Eastern Cape at the National Teaching Awards next year, were announced at a gala event at the Osner Hotel in East London.

WINNING SMILES: Eastern Cape education SG Themba Kojana (fifth from the left) with teachers during the National Teaching Awards provincial ceremony at East London’s Osner Hotel held earlier this week Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

Thursday night’s event saw 59 teachers selected from rural and urban schools throughout the province gather to hear who had been chosen as the crème of the crop in academic excellence.

Welcoming teachers and dignitaries of the department of education, deputy director-general Ray Tywakadi said: “An organisation is made up of the people in it. If you can’t award its people for doing good, you won’t have successful organisations.”

But he said this year participation in the event had been pathetic. “However, we are here tonight to celebrate those that are doing great work.”

The educators who took first place in each category were:

lPeggy Jona from Bakuba Primary School in Alfred Nzo West: Excellence in Primary School Teaching;

lRyno Simms from Beaconhurst SSS, Buffalo City Metro: Excellence in Secondary School Teaching;

lRian Erasmus from Port St John’s JSS, OR Tambo Coastal: Excellence in Primary School Leadership;

lMlungisi Nopote from Soqhayisa SSS, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro: Excellence in Secondary School Leadership;

lBenita Potgieter, Willow Park SS from Buffalo City Metro: Excellence in Grade R Teaching;

lLungiswa Maxaulana from Enduku FSS, Chris Hani East: Excellence in Special Needs Teaching;

lCindy Harris from Westering High School, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro: Excellence in ICT-enhanced Teaching;

lXoliswa Pikwa from Mount Ayliff JSS, Alfred Nzo West: Excellence in Teaching Mathematics GET;

lMpho Faro from Zamokuhle JSS, Alfred Ndzo West: Excellence in Teaching Natural Science GET; and

lNokwanele Luthango from Holy Cross SSS, OR Tambo Inland: Lifetime Achievement Award.

They will jet off to the finals early next year in a bid to bring a “top teacher in the country” award to the province.

Pikwa, a Grade 7 – 9 teacher at Mt Ayliff JSS who walked away with first spot in mathematics teaching, said her own dreams inspired her to teach.

“I wanted to be a doctor as a young girl but couldn’t because of financial constraints. I vowed to teach mathematics so that I could produce as many doctors as possible. So far, I’ve produced seven, and I aim to raise more.”

Simms, a teacher at Beaconhurst, said: “I am excited and honoured to have been selected. My secret has been to be involved in everything in the school”.

Luthango, principal and isiXhosa teacher at Holy Cross SSS in Mthatha, walked away with the lifetime achievement award. “I’ve been working for more than 30 years as an educator. To be acknowledged makes me feel good.

“It has been my wish to make a change to the education of an African child who has suffered. I will always strive to make an impact through education.” — nonsindisoq@dispatch.co.za

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