Sameera Named Western Cape’s Best Primary School Teacher

Congratulations to Sameera Mohideen for being named the Western Cape’s Best Primary School Teacher in this year’s Woolworths Teacher’s Day competition.

Sameera, who is a Natural Science teacher at Grassy Park’s Pelican Park Primary School, has only been teaching for three years. She describes her learners as her “junior scientists who go on great voyages of discovery with me”.

She says she is overwhelmed by the prize. “It all seems surreal; it has not sunk in yet. Teachers are always busy. We plan, [prepare lessons], teach, guide, counsel and more often than not forego our breaks to chat with learners. I don’t feel as if I am the best teacher in my school and trust me I am a very confident, self-assertive person,” she says.

She praises her colleagues for their efforts, saying an “award needs to go to the teaching profession on the whole”. She says that if you had to meet her colleagues and other teachers you would certainly believe that the award needs to go to the teaching profession as a whole. She believes that “teaching is not a career, it is a way of life”.

“For many of us, we take our learners as our own children. When they are troubled, we are troubled and when they are happy and successful, we are proud,” Sameera enthuses.

Sameera says the pupil who nominated her, Farzana Kearns, is one of her success stories. “She was in my first Grade 4 class. She was a very fearful, nervous, anxious little girl who was too shy to even answer in class. She was really struggling in class, with peers and academically. I make it a mission of mine to meet all parents in the beginning of the school year and introduce myself and to let them know that when their child is in my class, they become my kids.”

She says parents know they can approach and confide in her “and seek guidance in anything and everything. I do believe that parents and teachers need to work together and be a united front, to set clear and consistent boundaries for children.”

She says being nominated by Farzana has been a humbling experience and came with a “sense of wow”. “Did I really manage to make a positive difference in a child’s life? Did I actually contribute positively to society? I was able to give back to others. I am truly very grateful for all that I do have in my life. My mum plays a very important role in my life. She always gave more to others than what she took. She always found great enjoyment in giving and helping others,” she says.

She says she likes to laugh. “We laugh in class sometimes over silly mishaps on my part. I try and teach the children that no-one is perfect, especially not me. When I am wrong or I have treated a child unfairly, I would, after reflection, stand in class and apologise to the child concerned,” she says. And this way of teaching has her pupils shocked sometimes.
“They need to know that no-one is above the law or rules of the class. Many children who misbehave will come to me later in the day and apologise. I enjoy teaching the children to be critical thinkers, to open their mind to endless possibilities.”

She says she wants to inspire her pupils to believe they are unique.
“We start every day knowing that we decide whether it is going to be good or bad. They mentally have to decide that no-one is going to change their good mood.”

Source: News24 (Edited from an article written by Chevon Booysen)

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