My dear students…

Hello friends! It’s been a while since my last post. Let’s blame it on the almost year-end busy-ness and somewhat of a writer’s block that I’ve been experiencing.

That changed yesterday.

Amid all the chaos, I found my inspiration. And with the many recent difficult weeks that I’ve had, I needed it. Let me not be cryptic anymore. I received this heartwarming message from one of my students….

Hello Maya,

I hope you are well,

I wanted to let you know that I got a job and I’m working. I’m still an intern and have a contract until next year. I started on Monday and so far it’s been good.

I also wanted to thank you as my lecturer. Without a doubt you have been by my favourite lecturer at Rosebank College. I learnt a lot from you as my lecturer and as a woman as well. I was inspired by you and you also gave me hope about my photography and editing skills as you always complimented.

I will not stop from working towards reaching my dreams which is photography and film production studies. I will continue studying and the YouTube channel will also be at work.

Thank you so much for being the lovely person you are and thank you for all the lessons learnt.

Stay blessed Ma’am.

I was speechless. And I really do feel blessed. It took me almost two hours to respond, and I tried not to read it again, or the tears would have been flowing.

Being an educator is an emotional journey as many can attest to. You treat your students as your children. You become attached to them and you worry about them. You want them to push themselves and do better. And you use many methods of trial and error to get there. I know I did. For me, being an educator, was a relatively new journey. I only started lecturing last year.

My students and I experienced some challenges initially but I soon changed my teaching method to accommodate them. It worked wonders. Class discussions were interactive with YouTube videos a regular feature. I learnt how to embrace technology and my students loved it. I have to keep up with the millenials, right?

My greatest hope was that I would be able to channel my industry experience positively to not simply lecture students, but ignite a passion within them for our diverse media industry.

It’s not just about what happens in the classroom, but the skills that you help them develop that will hold them in good stead outside of the classroom. This year, I watched in awe as my students went out to events and court appearances and shadowed journalists. Finally the pieces started falling into place for them. They realised why I insisted that they keep updated with news developments, why I made them read newspaper stories in class and write original, creative stories… it was to prepare them for industry.

I’m so glad I stayed in this for the long haul. There was a time this year when I considered leaving as I was juggling two jobs. But in my heart, I knew that I would not be able to turn my back on my students.  We had been through too much together from 1st year to this year. And I couldn’t desert them now; never mind the huge loads of marking to follow!

I think I needed them as much as they needed me. Their enthusiasm to learn and dedication to those 8am classes pushed me to give off my best. In between classes, we would chat about home, family and their weekends. Many of them are from different parts of the country and have moved away from their parents to gain an education in Durban.  It’s highly admirable.

This year, as several incidents of violent school learners surfaced, I felt grateful that it was something never had to worry about.  My students were always respectful and polite and I always felt safe around them.

Throughout our experiences this year, they have helped me see South Africa and the world through their eyes. It’s been humbling

I have decided to take a break from  lecturing – and to re-iterate, I only stayed so I could see my students to the end of their qualification. I am looking forward to seeing them at graduation next year – and cheering them on with unbridled joy. And I want to hear from them often about their different journeys in industry. I will miss seeing them in class every week, but I feel blessed to have shared this time with them.

My dear students; thank you for inspiring me.

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