A career in education… being a young educator

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Pinehas Nakaziko

Windhoek-Being a young teacher can be overwhelming, relaxing and enjoyable, but some for young educators describe a career in education as an interesting and challenging journey that requires lots of energy.
Mike Megameno Ashipala, 25, an English teacher for Grade 11 and 12 students at Joseph Simaneka Asino Senior Secondary School, says being a young teacher is awesome.

“I am energetic and persuaded to transfer knowledge to my full potential, as well as influencing the learner’s behaviour in a positive way, both in academic and intellectual settings.”
He adds that as a young teacher, the most common distraction he experiences from the learners every day is disrespect and lack of interest.

“Most of the learners show ignoring and neglecting behaviour with less interest in education. Students are too dependent; they depend on a teacher for every answer, and as an English language teacher I encounter varieties of problems.

“Students speak more of their native languages than English, with the environment having a great effect on learning of the subject,” says Ashipala, adding that he tries to create a more conducive learning environment and encourages them to learn English as if it’s their native language.

“Counselling is applied for behaviour change with parents involved. I also empower students and help them feel they can indeed do it.”

He would love to see his learners going into different careers. “I hope to leave a positive lasting impression on my learners. I love my job and I want my learners to love to learn,” says Ashipla.

Louka Ndengu, 27, an entrepreneurship teacher for Grade 8 and 10 learners at Onakathila Combined School says it feels good to be a young teacher, especially sharing her knowledge and God-given talent to educate and inspire Namibian children.

Some of the common challenges she experiences every day include excuses and silly reasons given for not having done their homework. “I solve it by giving them a penalty; it reduces the number of learners not completing their tasks on time,” says Ndengu, adding that passion, attitude and personality are most important to success.

Aleta Shikukumwa, 28, a Grade 8s English teacher at Shaanika Nashilongo Senior Secondary School, says as a young teacher, she feels gratified by teaching learners who will be future leaders.

“Disrespect from learners is the most challenging thing all young teachers are currently facing. I am strict with the school rules, as this is the only way to overcome this. School rules are really helping us, and I hope all schools have rules in order to have a conducive learning environment,” she says.

She adds that even though teaching was her second career, she developed a love for it and currently enjoys working with children, especially those who are willing to learn.

Helena Shatona, 26, also an English teacher for Grade 10 and 12 learners at Shaanika Nashilongo Senior Secondary School, says she it feels good to be a young teacher, molding and shaping young minds. “It is the best feeling ever.”

She describes teaching as quite challenging, especially dealing with learners’ wayward behaviour. “Learners misbehave, some dodge lessons and classes are always overcrowded. As a young teacher one has to be vigilant and make sure that they all attend lessons,” she says.

Shatona adds that another challenge is classroom management. “Being of the same height with learners [they] think you are of the same age, despite being a young teacher. I overcome all these challenges by knowing I am the leader and the manager of my class. Lastly, school rules help me a lot in creating a conducive environment.”

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