Ms Esmeralda Meyer
I completed my national diploma in education in 1997, majoring in Biology and Music in my third year. I had chosen Mathematics because I had done so well in my second year, but changed it to Music because the Maths lecturer was not very helpful. I failed the first test and he just laughed instead of pointing out my mistakes and helping me understand the work better. I taught languages and science for a few years but always longed to do mathematics.
In 2011, I heard from my colleague, Thelma Van Vught, that she is doing an Advance Certificate in Education (ACE) in Mathematics Education through Aimssec/University of Fort Hare. I immediately enrolled and my wonderful journey of exploring and learning how to teach mathematics resumed. I enjoyed working with everyone at AIMSSEC. They gave us practical ways to solve mathematical problems and we were always actively involved in the learning process. I was always eager to go back to the classroom to implement what I had learned. I remember being 8 months pregnant when I wrote my final exam for my ACE course. My feet were badly swollen and my back ached terribly, but I did not let those afflictions deter me from obtaining my qualification and doing my best. I graduated in 2014 and was encouraged by the AIMSSEC staff to further my studies. I obliged and immediately enrolled to study a B.Ed (Honours) degree, still specialising in mathematics.
This time I studied through North West University and there was very few contact sessions. Studying mostly correspondence was a hard thing to do, but I never let anything get in the way of me giving my utmost best. I obtained distinctions in many of my modules, but I mostly enjoyed the mathematics ones. The research module opened my eyes to what is happening in the world of mathematics outside my tiny classroom that doesn’t have any technological equipment to enhance my teaching. I look forward to doing a Master’s in mathematics education next year. It is my dream to one day train mathematics teachers, because I feel that I can make a greater impact to mathematics education in South Africa by training teachers instead of teaching the few hundred children each year. I can empower teachers who in turn will go back to their respective schools and empower thousands of learners in mathematics.
AIMSSEC really taught me to aim high! Thank you!
Mr Mpilo Khumalo
I was born in Soweto to a Zimbabwean dad and a South African mum, and grew up in Zimbabwe where I attended my primary, secondary and tertiary education. I studied teaching, specializing in Accounting and Mathematics. In 2010, I joined the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) as a teacher, working at a farm school.
In a bid to improve the performance of learners and competency of educators in mathematics, the ECDoE entered into an agreement with AIMSSEC. Because of this, in 2013 I was enlisted on the MT residential course, which was an eye-opening initiative. I experienced a “mathematics-culture-shock”, as the course exposed my shallow understanding of mathematical concepts.
I completed the MT course which gave me the opportunity to do the ACE course. This course changed my life. For the first time, I discovered that mathematical concepts can be taught as objects. I reflected on my teaching and realized I had not been doing justice to the learners, and neither had my schoolteachers to me. Apart from using teacher-centred approaches and forcing learning to stick to formulae, I was indirectly excluding learners from learning and enjoying mathematics.
In December 2016, I applied to join the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) as a Coordinator of the Hope Scholars Programme. When applying for the job, I elaborated on how mathematical concepts should be taught or learnt, applying the knowledge I acquired from AIMSSEC. I was selected as the stand-out candidate, thanks to AIMSSEC! My role includes mentoring of university students who assist in our programme. I continue to teach learners every day and intend to so in the future.
I look forward to further engaging with AIMSSEC so I can develop my understanding of mathematics. With AIMSSEC you always look forward to learning something new and rewarding! I always tell people that if AIMSSEC had the chance to teach in our schools, every learner would be passing mathematics.
“Those who study at university should start afresh at AIMSSEC.”
Ms Andiswa Rosebella Mpuhlu
My journey with AIMSSEC began in 2012 when I enrolled for the Mathematical Thinking, Problem Solving and Technology in Teaching and Learning Mathematics (MT) course. I passed the course with a distinction. The course helped me to understand different teaching methods I could use in my classroom to make the learners understand mathematics better. In addition, I became more interested in teaching the subject.
A year later, AIMSSEC offered me another opportunity to enrol for the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) course and I embraced the offer, as it provided me with a lot more teaching strategies and problem-solving skills, which boosted my confidence during mathematics classes. As I studied the ACE course, the Teaching and Learning Environments (TLE) module made me evolve into a far better teacher than I had been, because the module included aspects of action research and conducting workshops with my peers. Workshops with other teachers provided me with an opportunity to interact with fellow mathematics teachers from neighbouring schools and we also invited our subject advisor for support.
I am so very pleased that I was privileged to give TLE feedback towards AIMSSEC’s first book, Mathematical Thinking in the lower secondary classroom! After completion of the ACE course, the subject advisor involved me in district programmes aimed at filling content gaps in mathematics. Due to the improved performance of my learners, I have since been promoted to Head of the Mathematics Department at my school and this opportunity allows me to share the knowledge I have gained with other teachers in my school for application in the different learning areas.
Mr Mpumelelo Kolisile
I am a teacher by profession. I was born and bred in East London in the Eastern Cape Province, in Duncan village. My journey with AIMSSEC began in 2008 after I accidentally stumbled upon an invitation to all mathematics teachers in the province to attend a Mathematical Thinking short course for enrichment in mathematics teaching.
Having successfully completed the MT course, AIMSSEC invited me again in 2010 to enrol for the Advanced Certificate in Education, a 2-year, level 6 national qualification for teachers. In 2013, AIMSSEC approached me to be a facilitator at the East London Telematic Centre, where other teachers enrolled for the ACE course in the province gather once a semester to receive broadcast sessions from the lecturers. My relationship with the AIMSSEC family continues to grow. In 2013 and 2014, I attended the AIMSSEC Mathematical Thinking courses as a teaching assistant.
In October 2014, I was appointed as the Principal of my school (26 teachers and 1195 learners) and I still teach two grade 7 classes. In July 2015, I attended the MT course as a lecturer in Probability and Statistics for the Intermediate Phase. Three teachers in my school’s mathematics department have attended the MT course and I would like to see them develop their teaching skills further.
I believe that investing in a human being is a lifetime investment; therefore I would like to thank AIMSSEC for believing and investing in me. The skills I have gained will continue to make a difference in mathematics education within and outside my school and community. Since my involvement with AIMSSEC, our mathematics pass results have increased by 25%.
Ms Sagree Pillay
I started my journey with AIMSSEC in 2009 when I attended the MT11 residential course in July. It was the most enjoyable course I had ever attended. The 10 days changed my outlook, teaching approach and opened my eyes to many new experiences.
I returned to KZN, a “new” teacher, one who turned mathematics lessons into joyful learning sessions. The ACE course was another extremely enjoyable and deeply engaging course. In addition to the enriching content, I was very motivated and deeply touched by the sincerity and commitment with which tutors approached the courses they taught. It made me want to give of my very best; proving, once again, what an amazing impact a motivated teacher can have. I graduated cum laude at the end of 2011.
Although it sounds cliché, I will still remark that AIMSSEC had become family to me by that time, so I was honoured and delighted when I was approached to speak at the 10th Anniversary Graduation and join the tutoring team as a teaching assistant in 2012 and 2013. From this position, I was able to observe how the best, experienced and highly qualified tutors went about their duties. Julia Anghileri was amazing, giving me opportunities to be an integral part of her teaching. She was generous in her praise and that did wonders for my esteem.
It has always been my passion to be involved with teacher training, as I feel that teachers need to learn and teach more than just content alone. They need to teach hope and bring joy to the classroom. That comes with confidence and genuine self-enjoyment. So, it was a dream-come-true when AIMSSEC invited me to attend the 2014 and 2015 winter courses as a lecturer!
Ms Zikona Ntlonti
I was born in Ngcobo district in the Eastern Cape. In 2012, I enrolled for the Mathematical Thinking, Problem Solving and Technology in Teaching and Learning Mathematics with AIMSSEC, and I passed with the short course with merit.
Between 2013 and 2014, I enrolled for the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) with AIMSSEC in partnership with University of Fort Hare and I passed the two-year course with distinction. The skills I learnt from the AIMSSEC courses boosted my confidence in presenting workshops for educators and I began InterSen mentoring sessions in my district, piloting with 2 circuits, each with 30 schools, and I also conducted Grade 9 Spring School for the pilot circuits.
In my presentations, I shared the strategies I learnt at AIMSSEC with teachers from the two circuits. I always pointed out that, “Mathematics is not about formulae; it is about relating concepts for better understanding.” Presently, I am coordinating the National Intervention 1+4 program for Grades 8 and 9 in the 2 circuits. As from 2015, I have been a Teaching Assistant on AIMSSEC’s MT courses and in each course there is always something new to learn.
AIMSSEC teaching strategies have inspired me to further my studies in mathematics and to encourage capacity development of fellow South Africans. I am continually broadening my horizons and this encourages me to add value in mathematics education in my province, the country and in Africa as a continent.