Star Teacher

Question and Answer
Full name: Desiré Eises Subjects: English and Afrikaans School: PK de Villiers SS, Keetmanshoop
Monique Adams
1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

What is interesting is that I actually never had any prospects of becoming a teacher. I initially wanted to do the Bachelor of English degree, just because I love the language. At the time I was ready to start my studies, the government had announced the shortage of teachers in the country. In an attempt to change the situation at that time, the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) decided to award grants to those who would pursue their studies in education. Upon my mother’s advice, I took full advantage of that opportunity and decided to study for a Bachelor of Education Honours degree at the University of Namibia, majoring in English and Afrikaans. That is my journey to becoming a teacher and I must say, I have no regrets.

2. What were your aspirations at a younger age?

I always knew I wanted to be of service to people and make a meaningful contribution to society. For the longest time, I thought I would best do that by becoming a medical doctor. However, as I got older the thought of handling patients’ blood petrified me so the hope of becoming a medical doctor crashed before it even took off. Nonetheless, I am fortunate enough to find myself in a profession where I can still be of service to people and make a meaningful contribution to society by shaping the minds of our upcoming leaders, which to me, is an absolute privilege.

3. What motivates you to get up every morning?

Firstly, the fact that there are bills I need to pay – adulting is not easy! Also, my urge to help others and make a difference is what really motivates me. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I help people and it is a very fulfilling experience. Every day at school is literally a new beginning - there is always something new, exciting or funny happening so that is quite enthralling. I am also privileged to have some of the kindest people with a healthy sense of humour as my colleagues. But for the most part, I truly enjoy what I do, so waking up to engage with some of the smartest and most capable young people in our country is quite incredible.

4. What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned from one of your learners?

The biggest lesson is that if you are book-smart, but not street-smart, the chances of you making it in this world are slim. I have seen so many academically gifted learners and talented athletes go down a dark path in life as a result of a lack of discipline and it is heartbreaking for us, as teachers, as much as it is for the parents. Contrariwise, if you are street-smart without being book-smart, the chances of you surviving out there are quite high and will help you stay out of trouble. I have also seen below-average performing learners who are disciplined and street-smart who are out there making something of their lives. Given this, I believe discipline and self-control are the core of the success and survival of humankind.

5. How long have you been a teacher?

I am in my sixth year of service.

6. What is your favourite book and favourite place to visit in Namibia?

A book I thoroughly enjoyed, that has been life-changing, is that of Namibia’s very own Dr Joseph Mukoroli titled “HAPPINESS has no PhD”. We often think happiness is a destination or the responsibility of our partners, family and friends and that is unrealistic. Happiness actually comes from within. I believe finding happiness starts with being completely honest to yourself about who you truly are, recognising what makes you tick and doing more of what makes you feel alive.

We live in such a beautiful country with breathtaking scenery - especially the sunsets that one can only truly appreciate when travelling by road - but if I have to single out one destination, it would have to be Swakopmund. I just love the de-stressing and calming effect the town has with its crisp ocean breeze and spectacular views, and that there are a variety of recreations for the young and old to delight in.

7. Tell us about your journey.

I am from Vaalgras, which is a settlement 60 km northeast of Keetmanshoop in the ||Karas Region. I grew up in Keetmanshoop where I completed my basic education. After high school, I spent most of my life in Windhoek trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted from life. After successfully completing my studies in 2016, I returned to Keetmanshoop to start teaching at my alma mater. Coming back home after my studies was the best decision because it definitely helped me establish myself and helped me to find my feet, especially in my career.

As much as it has been a fruitful journey, I am an ambitious person and believe that one should continuously challenge yourself and grow as much as one can in every aspect of your life. I am blessed with a strong support system consisting of close family and a very tight circle of friends who provide me with practical and emotional support as I am currently occupied with elevating myself on both a personal and professional level. Nothing ever grows in the comfort zone and as teachers especially, we ought to not only inspire our learners through mere words but we also need to model the progression and transformation we wish to see in them.