IsiXhosa teacher shines at Teaching Awards

World Teacher’s Day which is celebrated every year on October 5, is a day to set aside to highlight and celebrate the important contribution that teachers in society, education and development around the world.

It is these efforts that resulted in the isiXhosa language teacher at Holy Cross Senior Secondary School, Yamkela Ntwalana being awarded as the best teacher in the province.

Ntwalana, 30, was awarded the Excellence in Secondary School Teaching award at the 2022 National Teaching Awards held in East London last week.

This teacher who is also a well-known author of isiXhosa books, said that in this competition they look for the best teacher in each school. That teacher has to sell themself through the outstanding work they do in their school.

“I was lucky to be one of those teachers who were selected, and I stood out for the work I do in education. I was competing with secondary school teachers. I won first place in the province in this category,” Ntwalana told I’solezwe lesiXhosa.

He said that the guidelines they were looking for in this competition were what kind of teacher you are, how you teach, how you interact with other teachers and students.

“You have to support yourself visually and by making a speech, sell yourself in the best way, and show proof of what you are talking about,” said this KwaLindile native from Mthatha.

Ntwalana started teaching in 2014 at Sikwayini J.S.S in Qumbu. In 2015 he taught at Khanyisa High School in Mthatha which was the same school he attended. Then in 2016 he was hired at Holy Cross High (Blue) led by Principal Madikizela.

“I am a teacher who teaches the isiXhosa language and likes to uplift students according to their abilities. My favourite thing about teaching is working with children from different backgrounds and different talents. That makes me grow as a teacher too because there is so much potential in children,” said Ntwalana who is the author of the isiXhosa novel, Intlungu Yevezandlebe.

When he is not at school, Ntwalana communicates with his students using social networking sites such as WhatsApp. They do not only discuss schoolwork, but also the problems his students face in everyday life.

“I am a teacher who is accessible to the students, I am their best friend. I make students feel comfortable with me, feel safe and loved. I play a parental role to them,” said the teacher.

He said that in order for his work to be easier, he cooperates with school administrators and teachers to plan his work in advance and follow the requirements of the South African Council for Educators (SACE).

“The greatest reward I would like to attain at the end of the day as a teacher is to see a black child grow, be grounded, succeed until they become what they wish to be in life. Improve their situations and me being a part of that,” said Ntwalana.

Monday this week, Ntwalana competed with regional winners in the national category of these awards. The winners of this phase will be announced on October 20.