Part of the South Africa’s massive schooling problem has do with some of the teachers themselves – many feel overburdened, demoralised, disinterested and apathetic. Siyakhula and the Franklin Covey Foundation hosted a workshop for teachers from a nearby high school on ‘Individual and Team Greatness’ in the schooling context (a derivative of Steven Covey’s 7Habits). One of the challenges put to the educators was to consider a shift in mindset – specifically focussing on the particular sphere of influence most directly under one’s control – simple things really like ensuring your classes begin on time, that all lessons are well prepared and that classroom remain tidy. Our current grade 12s testify that this is often not the case.
The scale of the challenge however is reflected in the reality that a third of the staff failed to pitch – of those who did, a quarter did not stay till the end and at least half of those who remained have resignation and defeat etched on their faces. It was a depressing experience that reaffirmed the desperate need for teachers to engage deeply with these issues and we look forward to further Franklin Covey assistance in this regard. It seems wise to focus our resources on those teachers that want to be the catalysts of change – and there are many who do, they are afterall at the very coalface of real transformation in this country.
Do we need to shift any paradigms of our own? And could it be possible that our potential sphere of influence is greater than we imagine? How do we move away from the paralysis that seems to bedevil us whenever we confront the giants plaguing this land? If we focus on the things we can control, could this be how we change our world?