It did not take long for me to embrace the experience I had been led to. I adapted to my environment and learned to use the tools available to me: the blackboard, a box of chalk and the photocopying machine. No textbooks were on hand so I bought a copy of texts that were available in the bookstore and used them as a springboard for creating my own worksheets. The newspaper and magazines were perfect resources for comprehensions; old external exams were a guide to the type of questions I prepared my students to answer; the news was a starting point for so many debates and unprepared speeches.
I slowly became used to the many names I had not heard of before. I remember vividly a boy whose name I could not say – Mpumelelo. We all laughed at my attempt at pronouncing his given name. He made a concession for me: he chose a name he liked and said I could call him Luke. I taught him for three years and, even when I could pronounce his Zulu name, he requested that I continue to call him by the English name he had chosen.
As I welcomed Qhakaza and the students that attended the school into my life, I thrived. The owner of the school encouraged me to take initiative and gave me free reign on running my classes. My involvement with the children extended into after school hours: I would take them to experience their first live theatre; I would work with them in their preparations for a year end concert; I would spend Saturday mornings helping them to prepare for their grade 12 final exam.
I embraced Qhakaza; and the students of Qhakaza embraced me. The 9 years I spent at the school helped me to grow as a teacher; and satisfied my desire to help children who were in need.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: embrace)
Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.