Youth aggrieved by a lack of teaching jobs

Simphiwe Xaba of Soweto is a jobless qualified teacher.
Simphiwe Xaba of Soweto is a jobless qualified teacher.

It has been a tough few years for Simphiwe Xaba as the Soweto youth battles to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a teacher.

Xaba, 25, of Senaoane, completed the bachelor of education degree in 2017 at the University of Johannesburg. Since then she has been unable to find a job as a teacher.

With both her parents not working, she is praying to find a proper job so that she can help her household.

While her elder brother, who is a mechanical engineer, is supporting the family, Xaba feels that the burden may be too hard for him.

"We struggle in a way as we only depend on my older brother. I know it can be quite a burden to my brother and really wish I could help him with it. I feel it is too much pressure as both our parents are not working. It is not nice for him as all of us are looking at him while he has things that he would like to do on the side.

"I get a sense that he may be starting to feel as if he is stuck and his life is not going anywhere," Xaba said.

Xaba has two other brothers at home - one older and a younger brother who is 11.

Last year she worked as a tutor at a school in Randburg for a year. She has also tried volunteering at different schools but did not succeed.

"I went to so many schools and they just shut the door on my face. They said they get into trouble with the department if they have volunteers. What they don't understand is that all I am trying to do is to get experience because most posts require someone with five years experience."

Explaining her love for teaching, Xaba said: "I was influenced by teachers at my high school. I had the best teachers. I saw the difference they made in my life. I felt by being a teacher I would make difference in someone else's life also. I felt more inspired, in particular when I was doing Grade 11 and 12. They motivated us and never gave up on anyone."

To her, teaching is a calling as it demands more than delivering lessons in a classroom.

She got a taste of that while doing practicals at a school in Johannesburg in 2016.

She noticed that one of the girls was extremely quiet in class and it bothered her.

"She worried me because even if someone cracked a joke in class, she would not laugh.

"When I was able to eventually get her to open up, she told me that she was born HIV positive. She only learned about it that same year when she was in Grade 10.

"Her mother just gave her pills and never informed her what was going on."

The girl also informed her that no one worked at her home so she survived on the meals she got at school.

But Xaba's passion for teaching burned even more.

"Working with young minds is so amazing. They are interesting and are very interested in learning. As much as you find those kids who try to disrupt in class but it is really worth it.

She is now saving money in order to start a business and see how it will go.

"I never imagined that I would qualify as a teacher and still be unemployed. I always heard on television that there is a shortage of teachers but when you start interacting with districts that is when you realise you were fooled.

"We are encouraged as black people to go and further our studies so that we can succeed. But when you are finished you feel whatever you were being told as a child was lie."

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