The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
OFTENTIMES, we hear of whiz kids who have remarkable academic abilities and score high marks in public examinations but rarely do we hear of any whiz teachers.
This has created an impression that the learner’s educational ability is divorced from the teacher as the academic instructor is pushed to the academic backstage, but that is usually not the case. There are so many teachers who have an amazing ability to produce excellent results and schools identify such teachers and give them public examination classes, albeit getting less recognition. Mrs Thandeka Ndlovu, a teacher at St Columba’s High School in Makokoba, Bulawayo is one of the stand-out teachers — a “whiz teacher” after she produced 128 As in the November 2023 Ordinary Level examinations from her History class with only two failing the subject.
Mrs Ndlovu is a proud woman who has made it her business to ensure her classes produce the best results. Scoring big is not new to her. In 2022, 127 of her learners scored As and in 2021, 106 learners also scored grade A in History.
“I trained at Hillside Teachers’ College in 1998 and I have been teaching for the past 20 years majoring in History and Geography. I used to teach at Mzilikazi High School before joining St Columba’s in 2014. Ever since I started teaching here I have had very good results and I mainly attribute them to the good working environment here and my results have been improving yearly. We have a lot of support from the responsible authorities as teachers and that motivates us as well to produce good results. We also have good students,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
Mrs Ndlovu said the love for one’s job also enables them to succeed. Her latest milestone was producing 128As in the O-level examinations.
“Last year (2022) I had 127 As and in 2023 I was looking forward to more although last year’s examination was a bit challenging but from what I delivered I knew they were going to do well and I was very happy when the results came out. The learners themselves were very excited. They started texting me as soon as the Zimsec portal opened, we have a group chat with the students so when they started posting the As, everyone was so excited,” she said.
While dedicated teachers are putting in hours to teach their pupils and producing good results like Mrs Ndlovu, some teachers have hogged the limelight for absconding classes, failing to give homework and adequate time for lessons.
“Teachers must have passion and love for their learners because basically, that is what is driving me as well. That excitement to see them happy also makes me happy. Here at St Columba’s some parents were sceptical initially — they were not sure if their children would make it especially from the so-called last class as their children were not doing very well in Form Three but we assured them that we will play our part. They were surprised and happy when the results came out,” she said.
On the secret to the high grades, Mrs Ndlovu said they practice team teaching.
“From Form One, students get the basics on the subject, the full content, then in Form Three we start revision and we teach them to understand the concepts, examination techniques and most of us are examination markers. We interact with those that mark from other schools and also hold workshops to empower the learners. For my classes, I usually encourage them to read to understand the subject and for subjects like History some students develop an attitude because there are a lot of notes but we try to encourage them to love the subjects and read because they cannot pass if they do not read,” she added.
Mrs Ndlovu holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a Diploma in Education where she majored in History and Geography. A product of Mpopoma High School, Mrs Ndlovu said the two subjects were her favourite in school.
Reverend Canon Albert Ncube, the headmaster of St Columba’s High School sang praises for Mrs Ndlovu saying he was impressed with her performance.
“I would like to congratulate our teacher, she is a committed teacher, an up-to-date teacher who has learners at heart. She makes sure that every child is assisted as much as possible. Her results have always been good ever since she joined the school and she has been doing very well. She is a team player. It is not about herself alone but also how she interacts with other teachers and how she carries herself around. She is very professional,” he said.
He said Mrs Ndlovu was committed to her work and was the senior woman in the school, taking care of learners with mixed abilities and challenges and also assisting the female learners. Education Secretary for the Anglican Diocese of Matabeleland Mr Lovemore Mafa also praised the teacher saying her work was commendable and must keep producing good results that other teachers can emulate. The school recorded an overall 98 percent pass rate. –@NyembeziMu