At Xander we are always looking to give the amazing people who teach South Africa’s children a special mention and shout out. Meet grade 7 teacher and Deputy principal, Patricia Petersen.
- Tell us about your career and your choice to become a teacher?
I’ve been a primary school teacher for the past 38yrs. I am currently the Deputy Principal at Turfhall Primary School in Cape Town and I teach Grade 7’s. My teaching career started at Cypress Primary School where I taught for 23 yrs. This is where I was mentored, supported and given the opportunity to empower myself with all the knowledge to develop as a well-rounded educator.
When at high school during the 1970’s, our career choices were very limited as my parents could not afford to send us to university and because of the country’s policies at that time, only the learners with excellent matric results and who met certain permit application requirements at the University of Cape Town, which I was not able to meet.
Teachers were needed at that time and therefore a study bursary was offered which was repayable in teaching years. Because I enjoyed working with people, I took opportunity and have not regretted it in any way amidst the challenges that education holds.
- What is your favourite thing about being a teacher?
Teaching has become a way of life. It’s not an 8am – 4pm job. It’s intertwined into every fibre of your life. It provides a variety of roles to be played. For example, substitute parent, counsellor, entertainer, protector and most importantly, teacher. The opportunity to mould and shape a life holistically through teaching is precious. It is a light-bulb moment when learners understand a difficult concept which they struggled to grasp. One has to use different methods of teaching as each learner learns differently. The use of technology has been very beneficial in this regard.
- Do you use technology in your classroom and can you share an example of how?
At our school, we are fortunate that smart whiteboards have been installed in all the classrooms, therefore we have access to Wi-Fi and the internet.
- Natural Science: The Human Reproduction System
The knowledge is taught through discussions, sketches and charts. The knowledge is then reinforced through YouTube clips which demonstrates the process visually and in detail.
- Mathematics: Integers
This concept is first introduced in Grade 7 so many learners take longer to understand this concept. Once it is demonstrated with a number line and through the use of the YouTube Clip, the concept is grasped immediately.
- Visual Arts: How to make a Clay Pot
I used a clip to demonstrate step by step how to prepare the clay and use the different techniques to make an original clay pot.
- What advice can you give to young teachers wanting to introduce technology into their classrooms?
Learners learn in different ways. Some learners enjoy tactile learning while others need visual stimulation. Technology provides that variation. There are many programs for example Cami Maths and Green Shoots which grants the learners an opportunity to be interactive and work on-line. They receive on- line assistance where the programme provides an explanation and guide the learners to the correct answers. These kind of programmes also allows for the enrichment of learning for individuals in the classroom.
The advanced learners will do their own research through technology and enjoys sharing their knowledge discovered with the rest of the class. The advantage of using technology is that it can be downloaded and saved. It can be referred to at any time to re-teach a lesson.
- What is your favourite app for the classroom and your personal favourite app?
Google Images and YouTube for research and additional information for my general teaching. I also teach and prepare Visual Arts for the Grade 7 classes. Pinterest is my favourite app to use. It provides me with excellent ideas, worksheets, examples and clips to teach and demonstrate techniques to be taught.