19 Nov Cathy Ontong
Teaching can be a highly strenuous, often teachers are put on the spot and labeled as incompetent. Less attention is given to the excessive workload that teachers grapple with.
It is against this backdrop that Shine Literacy Hour Programme Volunteer, Cathy Ontong has gained a new respect for teachers as they navigate teaching classes with a wide ability range.
Through the Shine Literacy Hour Programme, Cathy is able to support children in their literacy and learning journey and provide a level of attention that is not always possible in the classroom because of the many issues that teachers are met with.
“Volunteering has awoken in me a new admiration for teaching as a profession, a sympathy for South African teachers and an appreciation for even slight improvements [at schools],” said Cathy.
She has over the past two years been a volunteer at a Shine Literacy Centre at Kewtown Primary School, an experience that has reignited some life values that she now regards as important.
“The children taught me afresh the value of patience, gentleness and kindness and how rewarding it is to give these away freely.”
“There are children out there who appreciate these [values] in adults. Adults demand them as rights while children just snuggle up and enjoy them!”
This learning experience also comes as a result of Cathy having had engaged with children who are from diverse backgrounds and who’ve faced some adversities. One that Cathy remembers is that of a child who had been bullied; the child appeared to be distant and did not necessarily engage with the content – a challenge that Cathy did not know how respond to at first.
“[The Centre Manager] who knows every story available in the Shine library, passed me a book that not only drew smiles and co-operation, but also advice on what to do to circumvent being picked on. Apparently [the book] helped!” she explained.