History teacher breaks own record in O-Level results
By Pamela Shumba
BULAWAYO – At a time when most people are spitting on the teaching profession and leaving to seek the so-called greener pastures either locally or abroad, this is not so with Ms Thoko Ndebele of Mpopoma High School in Bulawayo.
Ms Ndebele (43) still carries the burning desire of making a big contribution in the education sector despite the challenges associated with the profession. Her hard work has not gone unnoticed as in the past three years she has been named the best History teacher at the school.
In the 2012 November Ordinary Level examinations she broke her own record when she produced 46As in her favourite History subject and won a prize during the merit awards for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.
Ms Ndebele works with Mr Gilbert Ndlovu, Ms Chengetai Mabizhe and Ms Portia Muchena to teach more than 300 pupils that take the subject every year. Out of the 300 O-level candidates who sat for the subject last year at Mpopoma High School, 109 passed with As, with 46 coming from Ms Ndebele’s two classes.
In an interview, Ms Ndebele attributed the success to passion, teacher team work and commitment.
“I love children and I have a strong passion for history such that it pains me when my pupils fail to understand when I am teaching them. This gives me the strength and patience to take my time and follow up on every pupil until they all understand the subject,” she said.
“I do not want to teach pupils who produce Bs and Cs after writing their examinations. I therefore take my time to understand all of them and make sure that I bring them to one level. If I need more than the allocated time, I sacrifice my time and spend extra hours with the pupils until I am satisfied that they will all pass with As.”
Ms Ndebele, who is the History head of department at the school, has been teaching the subject for the past 13 years. She joined Mpopoma in 2008. Ms Ndebele also has marking skills which give her guidelines on how to teach her pupils and make them produce As.
“Another advantage that I have is that I have skills in marking examinations and I understand what Zimsec expects from the pupils. I try by all means to apply my skills during my lessons and I am happy that most of the pupils find it easy to understand when I am teaching them,” she said.
Ms Ndebele urged other teachers to love their work as it makes it easy for them to produce good results.
“When I started my teaching career in Gwanda, I was specialising in History and Geography and I used to produce good results in both subjects. I would like to encourage other teachers to love their work and take advantage of whatever resources they have to help their pupils pass,” she said.
Ms Ndebele did her secondary education at Sihlengeni Secondary School in Esiphezini in Umzingwane District before going to Founders High School for her A-level. She graduated at Mutare Teachers College and joined Bethel Secondary School in Gwanda District before joining Mpopoma in 2008.
She is also a holder of a degree in Administration from the Zimbabwe Open University. The headmaster of the school, Mr Christopher Dube, echoed the same sentiments, saying the school strives to create a conducive environment for the teachers and provide adequate grooming to the pupils.
“Our pupils did well in History last year but we generally do well in all the subjects and our results are quite impressive. Our pupils start school at 7am and we make them stay until 4pm so that they study at school and have access to the Internet so that they do their research.
We make sure that they attend all lessons and monitor progress through revision tests almost on a daily basis and see where they lack.
“We strive to groom them in such a way that they know that they are at school to learn and we create a culture of people geared towards achieving good results in all disciplines,” said Mr Dube.
“Parents also play a big role in producing good results, so we use consultation days to discuss the performance of the pupils and encourage them to allow their children’s work while they are at home. We also do not allow the girls to plait their hair so that they concentrate on their studies.” The Chronicle