Excellence in Secondary School Teaching

Winner: Azhar Rajah,
Ahmed Timol Secondary School, Gauteng

Rajah represents a generation of young fired-up teachers who are joining the profession in droves. With only eight years teaching experience, he still has a lot to offer the profession. He currently teaches Life Science and Life Orientation at the school. He says the reason why she became a teacher is because teaching is exciting: “Every day is different, bringing its own rewards and challenges.”

Rajah said he misses the youthful energy of his learners when he is not in class. He adds: “I am motivated to make a positive impact on the learners’ lives, as their achievements become your achievements.” Rajah believes learners must learn to take responsibility, especially in the face of the increasing challenges such as alcohol and substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy.

One of the effective ways in which Rajah improves his learners’ performance is to revise old material with them, so that by the time they sit for their tests or examinations they are adequately prepared. He said he always makes sure his learners comprehend the subject matter and encourages them to feel free to ask questions in class.

“It is important to focus on the positives and to change what you can in your immediate environment; change will happen slowly but surely. This will not happen without commitment and teamwork. When teachers work together, they can make a significant impact towards the education of every child in that school,” says Rajah.

He feels the NTAs helps bring faith and confidence back to the education sector, saying he is honoured for being a provincial finalist in his category – representing his school, district and province. “The initiative is both developmental and rewarding,” he adds.

Rajah is also actively involved in community outreach initiatives, one of which is Operation Dignity Project, which has raised funds totalling R40 000 towards a sanitation project. It also built 10 additional toilets and three urinals at the school.

Another initiative is the annual Winter Warmth Campaign where grade 12 learners collect socks and food for underprivileged residents in Kagiso Township. This, he believes, inculcates a sense of community involvement and caring among the learners.

Source: Mail and guardian