The satisfaction and joy of teaching
“I equip our young ones with the knowledge that will hopefully come in handy in their adult lives. Apart from that, I provide them with a safe space where they can discover their self-identity to enable them to pave their own paths with a curious mind, a sense of pride and self-worth.”
This is how Nelago Selma Ndeyanayih describes her duties as a school teacher. This self-assessment reflects the important role that teachers play in our lives. Most people are indebted to their teachers for charting out their paths to attain their dreams.
Encouraging learners to dream and prepare them for the future is what Ndeyanayih does at the Sonop Primary School in Mariental.
The Grade 7 English teacher said, “My responsibilities include but are not limited to facilitating learning and teaching, preparing lesson plans as well as developing and providing educational content, including tests, assignments and notes.
Other duties include ensuring my classroom is neat and organised, attending parent-teacher meetings, evaluating and documenting students’ progress as well as preparing and distributing semester report cards,” Ndeyanayih said about her role as a school teacher.
“Currently, it really is just navigating teaching and learning in the midst of a pandemic. It is very challenging to reach and bring the students who require more teacher attention to the level they need to be in order to continue to the next grade,” she added in reference to the Covid-19 pandemic that has severely disrupted teaching and learning.
The mother of two attended her primary and junior secondary schools in Ruacana before high school at Otjikoto Secondary School in Tsumeb.
Immediately after high school, she enrolled for a two-year diploma in public relations at the University of Namibia (Unam). After completing her studies, she did a few stints for the Electoral Commission of Namibia and the National Planning Commission.
“In 2012, I got a six months relief teaching post at Ovikange Primary School. While there, I applied to study law at the University of Namibia, got accepted but I had not applied for a study loan and we all know how tricky that can be but I just thought I’d fight that battle when I get to it. However, another opportunity presented itself in January 2013 when the ministry of education put out an advertisement about needing teachers.
“They basically offered a four-year grant as long as you met their criteria. This made me rethink my situation: do I go and fight it out with NSFAF for a loan for my law degree or do I take this teacher opportunity that just landed on my lap,” she said, narrating her journey to the teaching profession.
After choosing the latter option, she went to study for an honours degree in upper primary education, majoring in English at the Unam’s Khomasdal campus. She graduated in 2017.
“Immediately after college, I got a teaching post at Suiderhof primary school, where I taught social studies, natural science, art and physical education. Suiderhof will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always be grateful for my time there because the work ethic and overall work experience I got from there shaped me into the teacher I am today. In 2020, after three years of relieving at Suiderhof, I finally got a permanent position at Sonop Primary School.”
Ndeyanayih is content with her teaching profession, which gives her satisfaction by seeing her students grow.
“Every single time, they learn something new; when they finally understand something they have been struggling with or when they continue to the next grade. Basically, every progress they make makes me even more determined and proud of them and myself. That feeling is indescribable,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ndeyanayih has advice for those who would like to become public school teachers and whoever wants to join the public service. She is cautioning others not to become civil servants for the sake of job security, but to be passionate about their work.
“I would advise them to research which government sector would be a fit for them, their passion and interest. One needs to understand that you are happy when you love what you do – and in doing so, you are able to serve the people the right way and with an open heart,” she said.
About the future, Ndeyanayih has plans to continue with her studies – to attain a masters degree.
“And personally, I just hope to be more compassionate and understanding with fellow beings, continue to take care of my health and hopefully travel extensively.”