Thulani tell us a bit about yourself
I grew up in Edendale raised by my aunt who adopted me and she sent me to school. I first went to Bisley and then Northdale Primary. When my aunt passed away in 1999 I went to live with my parents but they couldn’t afford the fees so I went to a Black school. I finished matric but did not do very well and my brother took me to Durban to do my learners licence and a temp job. When my contract was finished my dad knew someone he used to work Mr Miller for in Pelham. He offered me a job to paint the house. I worked for him for 6 weeks and he recommended me. He had a little boy, Byron who loved me and we worked so well together in the garden. He would cry when I left to go home in the afternoon. One day Byron’s dad asked me what I wanted to do and I told him that I wanted to go back to school and then to varsity but losing my aunt I also lost my confidence. He told me that he would like me to go for my dream. “Nothing will stop you but if you’re willing to work hard”. Mr Miller’s wife referred me to Mr Weaver, the principal at Cordwalles who interviewed me and asked me about my past and my dream. I told him that I have my driver’s licence and have saved money and was applying to the Police force. He needed someone to assist with the pre-primary school. He gave me a temp job to look after the garden and cleaning and I accepted it and he sent me to Antoinette, the Bursar and they employed me. After a year they heard that I was helping here and there and Mr Weaver asked if I would like to study further. The school offered to pay for my studies at Caversham and so I started and now I am finished three years.
Thulani it has been such a privilege to have you as a student with Caversham tell us how you came to study with us.
When they asked if I would like to go to Caversham Institute I had never heard anything about it. Carol Ndlovu a past student told me a bit more but said it was only for females that there would be no men so I thought that I’d be intimidated. All I had was a passion for learning about children although I did not know a lot about them. But there was another male the first day that I was there and I thought then it was going to be a good year. I felt I was at home. I knew that I belonged! I remember the first lecture where you had to give your name and talk about yourself as an animal or object and I remember that Jill said she was a spade. My symbol was an elephant because I don’t forget. When time went by I realised that Caversham was not just an institution but is involved in many areas. You not only get the lectures but also the respect. The people there are there for one reason to help the children. That is the thing that makes me feel good about myself.
You are welcomed and I am sure that you will love Caversham and it will help you with all that you need to learn about ECD (Early Childhood Development). I did not know a lot and once I was there I learnt so much. Fist year I did not know how much I would learn but the more I was there the more I wanted to learn and these things could be applied at school. I can identify these issues so it was easy to do my assignments. The teachers helped me also and they showed me so much. At Caversham you’re not left alone to struggle you get all the help that is being offered. 90% of the students would agree that Caversham is the best Institution for ECD.
What do you think about having male teachers in ECD?
I would like to see more male teachers most of the boys/men they will hear that ECD is for female teachers. ECD is not about what gender you are but about your passion. If you like children it doesn’t matter. I would like to stand up and tell all the men who are passionate about children but they have the fear to say that that you can teach young children. I would be proud to stand in-front and tell them that it is fun to be at Caversham.
Have you had any challenges as a male studying and working with young children?
The challenge would be the first day and you see only females you may feel like you’re uncomfortable but as time goes by you realise that we are all there for one purpose. You meet all the ladies and soon relax. In my experience the children are used to female teachers but they welcomed and accepted me and, as they are all boys it’s like they prefer to be taught by males. Their heroes are male so they can identify with a male teacher. If you come to our school and speak to the grade 1 – 3 boys that have been in Grade R and who hear that I will be teaching them sport and bit of Zulu next year they are so excited. The older boys they are asking will I really be teaching grade 1 – 4 and that it is unfair that I won’t teach them. I will also be helping in Grade R they have been so good to me and especially need my help during cycle week.
What would you say to other males who wanted to follow in your footsteps.
Just say go for it and I would stand up and say that if you have that love for children it is fun. Believe in yourself and go for dream and do it. I have learnt so much and had so much fun with all the little boys and I can give my love to the children.