February 22, 2018

Reasons why Soft Skills are Essential for Teachers in South Africa

There are many teachers in South Africa who are fired up and passionate about the cause of education whilst studying but find themselves in a little bit of a tailspin when faced with the realities of being in the teaching environment. One of the biggest challenges faced by student teachers is coming into an environment that is under-resourced. Something that they are ill-equipped to deal with from a human point of view.

For many young and emerging teachers in South Africa, there isn’t a rosy or cushy pathway to professional success. Some schools have all of the resources, funding and infrastructure required, whilst other schools are beset with student challenges such as:

 Hunger

 Poor concentration during class

 Walking long distances to school

 A syllabus that is out of sync with literacy levels

It is clear that the teachers of today are not just called upon to be intellectually smart and savvy but to also possess well-defined soft skills when dealing with pupils. So what would be some of the most important soft skills that a teacher can develop?

Empathy- You will be dealing with a number of social issues, over and above your normal day and syllabus. Expect that children will come to you with health issues, family problems and more. You will need to be emotionally equipped to deal with this.

Positive Attitude- Your emotional state as a teacher plays a pivotal role in any classroom. Whether you realise it or not, your pupils will be able to read your emotions through your body language and especially if what you say and what you do are out of sync with each other. You will definitely need to feed yourself words of inspiration for teachers and even activities that will help you feel better.

Resourcefulness- As a teacher you sometimes find yourself in a set of circumstances that are not entirely manageable. Especially if you are posted to a school that goes through social challenges such as having different grades in one classroom, which is common in rural areas.

Resilience- In as much as you will need to be there for your pupils and students, you will also have to find ways in which to be there for yourself. Having some kind of internal support structure that allows you to find ways to build your self-confidence and decompress from the challenges that you face.

Solution –Orientated: There will be stumbling blocks, whichever way you look at it. As a teacher and a facilitator, you will need to find ways to keep your pupils engaged and stimulated. This calls for you being solution-orientated and thinking out the box. At this junction, it is critical to have studied a programme in education to assist you in being dynamic in your teaching methodology.

One of the easiest ways to strengthen your teaching acumen is to look at ways to skill up. You could easily study a distance learning qualification through Lyceum, which will help fortify your career in many ways. Upskilling will help you to increase your confidence, find more job opportunities and strengthen what you have to offer to the job market.

As a teacher in South Africa, you will be called upon to deliver in ways that are perhaps not required of another teacher in the world. You will be brought face to face with urgent needs of humanity and you will be challenged to deliver in ways that can be considered above and beyond the call of duty. However, it is in this moment that your courage and resilience must prevail, not just for yourself as a professional, but also for the children and the broader context of creating a stronger society for all.

About the Author
Laeeka Khan- Media professional, senior writer and blogger at Educor Holdings.

I blog about matters that relate to education and personal development. I am an out-of-the-box thinker, fascinated with perceptions of the mind’s eye, the power of imagination and creative learning. I am passionate about the human experience, and an avid believer in dialogue, breaking stereotypes, sharing information and the power of the arts. I also appreciate fine coffee and dark chocolate. Join me on this journey of knowledge and exploration.

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