Star Teacher - Lentina Xoagus
It started in 1990 when I was employed as a teaching aid at Windhoek International School. I worked there for 25 years, and was present at the inauguration of the school. I then went on to Highlands Private School, and now I am currently a teacher at St Andrews Primary School.
At WIS, I would aid the teachers during school hours and after school, I would clean five classrooms. During the weekend, I would babysit my colleagues’ children and their pets. Back then, my salary was only N$500. When I look back, I remember my grade one teacher at Auas Primary School, I loved her so much and she helped me develop the love of becoming a teacher through her nurturing attitude. I gained confidence and love from going to school. I am from humble beginnings. I would go home and play teacher with my siblings.
Was teaching always something you wanted to do?
I would say yes because I became a Sunday school teacher and would teach children to sing and pray. With my mother, we could not miss Sunday school. I love the provision, as you are serving the community and I believe it is my purpose, a calling from God. Jesus was also a teacher.
What is the most challenging thing as a teacher?
I must say parental involvement, different learning challenges, teacher-learner ratio and discipline in schools and the outside play areas. Children learn more when kept active and interested.
What would you be if you didn’t become a teacher?
I would be a full-time mother and wife. I have learnt that education starts at home. I would have taught my kids the skills and attributes they need in life, such as patience and kindness, so that when they grow up, they may not depart from it. Parents are the child’s first teacher and the home is the child’s first classroom. I would open a shelter or soup kitchen and feed the children as I help them with reading and phonics to learn the sounds of the letters and not the name. One of my favourite quotes is by David O. Mckay, religious leader and educator: “The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: Truth, honour, virtue, self-control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose of a privileged life”.
What keeps you motivated and inspired to keep on teaching?
The kiddos, the parents, our community as a whole and the management of the school as well as the new hardworking board members of St Andrews Primary School.
What do you enjoy in your free time?
In my free time, I read the Bible, pray and listen to music, Google new teaching techniques/tools/aids, download and familiarise myself with the government education policy and documentation and find new fun and exciting ways to make the classroom inviting for the kiddos.
What is the greatest thing you have ever achieved?
My graduation, becoming a professional teacher. I have persevered and conquered all my obstacles with God’s help, and I have achieved my dream while I am 50 years old. I have inspired my daughter and many young and old people in my community. I know many have questioned and doubted me, but I stood firm in God, and He did not fail nor forsake me. I thank Him.
Do you have any motivation for prospective teachers?
I will strongly advise them to love what they are doing and not the salary. In other words, they should have passion. They should have a humble and teachable spirit. They should be risk-takers, good communicators and good listeners - these are crucial traits to have to ensure that the children are in good, capable hands.