Winners of the Stella Clark Teachers' Award, 2017
The 2017 SCTA award was shared by Mrs van Schoor (COSAT Khayelitsha) and Mr Gabriel Kuate (Toli High School, Lusikisiki). The teachers were nominated by Luvo Sitongana and Sinovuyo John respectively.
Luvo Sitongana, a first year Commerce student, wrote in his motivation of Mrs Van Schoor, that it was the “easy to relate to” examples of things we are used to in our daily lives, that she uses to explain complicated concepts, that played a major role in his understanding the subject and working hard.
“Mrs Van Schoor is more than a Life Sciences teacher, she is a parent and I am sure a lot of other scholars would agree with me. She cares about her students very much both academically and personally. Throughout my grade 12 year, personally, she has given me a lot of advice. Her subject is very words based subject, she taught me skills about how to make effective notes, how to read and how to approach exams. “I love Mrs Van Schoor very much and I see her as a very unique teacher because she instils so much skills, knowledge and behaviour in student’s lives. I owe my personal growth to her”. It was a fitting tribute to a dedicated teacher who is retiring from teaching this year.
Sinovuyo John, a fifth year medical student, spoke about Mr Kuate who has taught mathematics and physical science to grade 11 and 12 students at Toli high school for over a decade. “I am personal testament to his ‘magic’ as a teacher. In grade 11 my physical science marks dropped, and I passed grade 11 physical science with 55%.”
Mr Kuate set high standards and he always encouraged students to “aim for the stars so that when you fall you at least hit the roof ” In addition to rewarding excellence and setting high standards; he has a stellar ability to simplify concepts; his teaching focused on getting us to grasp principles.
With his excellent results, Mr Kuate could easily get a better paying job at a private school, live in a better town but he chooses to stay in Lusikisiki, a small rural town, helping rural scholars like me who have big dreams get closer to achieving them. He (and many other like him) are making a huge investment into the communities they serve and the country at large. If he hadn’t salvaged my physical science marks I wouldn’t have gotten admitted to medicine with a bursary that requires I go back and work
in my district. So there, he has basically just solved SAs problem of lack of Drs in rural areas.”