Over the years there has been a deep-seated sense of loss in the hearts of society and communities regarding how certain professions, previously viewed as vocations, have lost not only their appeal but their dignity and integrity. I dare say ‘ziya jika izinto’ (things are starting to change) and we at Valued Citizens Initiative are enthralled to be at the front line of that change through our Values in the Lead professional development programme.

This month we honoured, celebrated and rewarded 149 educators and School Management Team members from 25 public primary and high schools that have completed successfully this programme. Teachers are the backbone of our society, they not only teach and mould our children but they help groom and raise our leaders. Leadership is transferrable, and through this programme we assist educators to ignite and reignite their own leadership flames in order to awaken learners they encounter.

Valued Citizens Initiative’s holistic approach in behavioural change through this programme focuses on transformative workshops spread throughout the year to a total of 40 hours. This is designed to allow for self-reflection and to develop best practices. We have managed this through our partnership with the Domba Trust and the Limpopo Department of Education.

The educators were honoured at a certification ceremony at Meropa Casino in Polokwane, Limpopo on June 15 in the presence of our partners. The programme included an assignment on communication, practical exercises on classroom management, role-playing, soft skills, and sharing experiences in order to draw from each other’s expertise for the benefit of the learner. The aim is for these educators to help develop the tenacity of our learners to commit to their academic result. To create a ‘yes we can’ generation who not only values education but uses it to the benefit of society.

Educators are the pillars of our society. In renewing society’s view of this profession we also renew the heart of the system allowing it to once again beat with purpose and fervour. So far, Valued Citizens Initiative has trained 7 745 educators from 2 173 public primary and high schools in Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Free State provinces and 6 537 have been awarded Valued Citizens Certificates accredited by the South African Council of Educators (SACE). In March 2018, we also added Mpumalanga on the map through a partnership with Air Liquide.

Ms NB Mutheiwana, Head of Department for Education Limpopo enhanced the importance to develop ethics and holistically learners to become accountable Valued Citizens for South Africa.

Educators feeling valued for their commitment to professional development enhancing communication and self-leadership skills.

Mahlatse Moetji, Bridging for Life Alumni, shares how a teacher is the most influential person in the lives of learners and how role-modelling takes place.