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Unlocking the potential of our children through
in-classroom teacher mentorship and school leadership support
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"Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other" - Randy Pausch

A note from our CEO Taryn Casey 

The theme for this final term of the year has been “gratitude”.  Gratitude that we get to wake up and do the important work that we do each day. Gratitude that our schools allow us to be a part of their staff and that we get to share in the success of their hard work. Gratitude for the deep and meaningful relationships that we have built with the schools we support through our weekly visits. Gratitude for the important role that our mentors have played in the lives of the teachers that they support.

This year has been challenging on many fronts. We have been faced with political uncertainty, unrest, violence and tragic deaths within our schools and within the broader communities that we serve. The need for the important support we provide is punctuated by these sobering moments. Our teachers have to deal with what their children bring in to the classrooms as a consequence of everything that they have been exposed to. They play the role of parents, counsellors and confidants to many of their children.  

In order to cope with their role in these circumstances and to be their best selves our teachers also need support and guidance.  Having a mentor to work alongside them is like a lifeline for many of them. During our recent prize giving ceremonies there was so much gratitude shown to our mentors from our teachers for the important role that they have played. Whilst challenges often seem insurmountable with guidance and support on a weekly basis we are seeing incremental and significant changes in the schools we support. Classroom practice has changed and learner results have improved.

Our mentors get a deep sense of satisfaction from watching their teachers come out of their shells, excel and begin to find joy in their teaching. It is in these moments that all of us at Edufundi feel that we are indeed living and breathing our motto and unlocking the potential of not only our learners, but our teachers and leaders too. As we end this year and move into 2019, it is my wish that all of us get the support we need to unlock our own hidden potential so that we can be our best selves and continue to contribute positively to those around us.   

I want to express deep gratitude to my team in the field and who work with dedication and passion at the schools they support as well as our home office team who work behind the scenes to support them.

Thank you to our donors, friends and all our supporters who create the enabling conditions for us to do the important work we do. We wish you and your families all the very best over the festive season and a very blessed 2019.

Yours in education,


CEO Edufundi

Prize givings 2018

We recently held certification ceremonies at our schools around the country to honour the hard work of our teachers and school leadership teams. It was wonderful being a part of a some of these joyous celebrations  and witnessing the incredible camaraderie between our mentors and the teachers that they support. Some of our wonderful teachers made cupcakes, others dressed up in their finest graduation regalia. Here are a few pictures of the events around the country.

Featured Story

Managing oversized classrooms

Mrs Dlamini | Siphosethu Primary | Ntuzuma, KZN

Siphosethu Primary in Ntuzuma, KZN. It’s 10 o’clock and 109 energetic Grade 5 learners are crammed into one small classroom, chatting noisily as they wait for their teacher. Everything they need for the upcoming lesson is already on their desks. Mrs Dlamini appears in the doorway and immediately the atmosphere changes. “3 … 2 … 1… Stop!” As one unit every learner taps the desk, folds his/her arms and turns to face the teacher. There is silence. The air is heavy with eager anticipation. What follows is like a carefully choreographed dance:

They greet each other with a song, check homework and stationery, and quickly complete the Do Now. In under ten minutes all 109 learners are settled, prepared, energised and focused, and they have already completed and marked their first written task. The rest of the lesson continues in the same vein; learners listen attentively to their teacher, follow instructions as carefully as possible and enjoy participating actively in oral and written activities. With such a large number of learners it isn’t plain sailing, but Mrs Dlamini has a toolbox full of tools she can use to fix problems and make adjustments as the need arises. By the end of the lesson she is still smiling, and so are her learners.

“Teach Like a Champion is helping a lot,” she says. “I feel confident that I can manage my class. There is a big difference between the classes that use the techniques and those that don’t.”

So what is her secret for managing large classes?

  1. Create a culture of 100% compliance. If learners think they can ‘hide’ behind their classmates they won’t co-operate. They need to know that each individual is seen, known and held accountable.

  2. Have strong routines. It is possible to maintain order and save time when everyone knows what to do and how to do it without being told.

  3. Make compliance visible. It is easier to manage behaviour when you can see it.

  4. Make compliance fun. Avoid power struggles by making discipline enjoyable (STAR, Clean Start/Finish, Show Me, Joy Factor, Strong Voice, Precise Praise).

  5. Divide the class into groups. It helps to focus on a smaller number of learners at a time, and learners are less able to ‘hide’. Group leaders can shoulder some of the responsibility.

  6. Keep learners busy. When they know how to behave well they can participate more fully. Give them every possible opportunity to talk, write, use objects and practise the skills they are learning (All Write, Show Me, Turn and Talk, Name the Steps, Do Now, Exit Ticket, Cold-Call, Popcorn Reading).

  7. Plan carefully and be prepared. Know exactly WHAT learners will do and HOW they will do it (Double Plan).

  8. Be realistic. To avoid frustration have realistic expectations, and be flexible.

Finally, know that some days will be better than others. Every lesson will be a new opportunity to succeed, so take a deep breath and go for it.

Stories from the field

A mentees story


Mziyanda Mbunge, a Grade 4 English (FAL) teacher at Ebongweni Primary School in Port Elizabeth tells us what impact having a mentor has had on him.

Ms Khungelwa Dumzele

Threshold, Do Now, Entry Routine and STAR are just some of the techniques this teacher is using to create the best learning environment for her class.
A Book is a gift you can open again and again!

Homba Primary was the recipient of four boxes of books this year. We sat down with mentor Phillip to discuss why he chose to gift his boxes to this school and they are having in the classrooms
Life in the classroom as we know it

Hear from Melandri Ricci, a teacher at
Machiu Primary School and how her mentor helped her look differently at things in the classroom, and realise that teaching is truly a work of heart.

Thank you to our supporters, without you our work would no be possible

All that is left to say is ...

See you in 2019!!!

Our offices will be closed from the 14th of December and will re-open on the 7th of January 2019.
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