Teachers CAN is a network that is led by us – young, transformative teachers – and taps into young teachers’ motivation to enable children to reach their full potential.
At the heart of our mission is the Teachers CAN Manifesto, which unites young teachers around five core values, namely that teachers are able to:
- Support learners to reach their potential in all aspects of their lives
- Engage as equals and for equality in schools
- Innovate and own school-wide teaching practices
- Play an active role in school structures
- Connect to a wider world of social change
Many of us face several external factors that impact not only on their ability to teach effectively, but also on our wellbeing. As a consequence, we can feel demoralised and unsupported in the profession.
Research by the Human Sciences Research Council demonstrates that South Africa has a low retention of young beginner teachers, citing a lack of support for new teachers as one of the major contributing factors. In addition, teachers’ identity often sits between that of worker and professional. Often treated as workers on a policy level, we’re frequently tasked with executing an inflexible curriculum for targeted outcomes. There is little freedom for us to innovate when it comes to our teaching practice, or to challenge national decisions based on our experiences in the classroom.
When we feel unsupported and overlooked, it narrows our sense of agency – to the detriment of the entire education system. For quality education to occur in South Africa, we teachers need to appreciate the central role we play in ensuring quality learning, feel empowered to navigate the education system and its structures, and have the professional freedom and responsibility to innovate. This is the only way we will address the systemic challenges that plague the post-apartheid education system.
- Read more about The Zero Dropout Campaign here. Published by The Zero Dropout Campaign, 2020.
- Read Schools urgently need young, committed teachers by Professor Michael le Cordeur here. Published by the Maverick Citizen, 2020.
- Read Chronicles of Young South African Teachers (The Interview Series) here. Published by News 24, 2016.
- Read DGMT’s Human Factor launch issue about teachers here.