Educator Extraordinaire

Boitumelo Maswabi

Meet Dr Mmapula Moatswi, the teacher who goes the extra mile

Teaching is often been referred to as the thankless profession, but for Dr Mmapula Charity Moatswi, a dedicated Guidance and Counselling Teacher at Pule Primary School in Gabane, the last 23 years have been rewarding as the results-orientated educator never performed below the ‘national target of 80%ABC’.

With a dream to own a centre of learning whose focus, beyond discharging academic duties, will be to unearth children’s talents, the Diploma in Primary Education and BA in Music holder is currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management.

Dr Moatswi has, moreover, been serving as senior teacher- sports and culture – for 14 years, coaching netball, tennis, and usually officiates volleyball (Level B) at national level.

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Voice Woman sits with the 47-year-old, who received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of Washington, USA, in September last year, to talk about her illustrious career, commitment to excellence, and the books that she and her daughter, Natasha, authored in 2020, titled ‘Upbringing of a Teenager in the 21st Century’ and ‘Struggles of a Teenager in the 21st Century’ respectively.

Educator Extraordinaire
BOOKS: Dr Moatswi and her daughter, Natasha authored a books

“The idea sprang from our desire to address the challenges parents face in navigating the complexities of raising teenagers in the modern era; these are manuals to guide both parents and teens,” she explains.

Born and bred in Old Naledi, the mother-of-three was drawn to teaching by a genuine passion for fostering learning and contributing to the growth of the next generation.

“My mother was from South Africa; she was uneducated due to the apartheid system and she also got married at only 18 years of age. I saw the negative consequences of illiteracy and, despite my poor O’Level performance, I was determined to attain a higher level of education. Fortunately, I had three credits, hence managed to gain admission into college to pursue the Diploma in Primary Education. I later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Soon, I’ll have a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management because I aspire to own an inclusive school where students will learn to play at least 2 musical instruments and go into sports. The suspension of school sporting activities that’s lasted almost 5 years owing to disagreements between the Ministry of Basic Education and BOSETU regarding educator remuneration after hours has indeed been challenging. As a senior teacher and guidance counsellor, I’ve witnessed how this lull affects students, negatively impacting not only their physical well-being but also depriving them of valuable teamwork and personal development opportunities.”

Committed to turning Ds and Es into As and Bs, Dr Moatswi has already registered an online school – Abacas Remedial School; her Standard 7 class went from 29% to 77% ABC. “In the last 10 years, I have never performed below 80 percent.

Teaching, for me, is a calling. The impact educators have on shaping young minds and futures is immeasurable.

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I’m that teacher who goes the extra mile; I conduct evening lessons for my students and make learning appealing by infusing music and drama in my lessons.

I have a good relationship with my students; every morning we spend 30 minutes chatting about current affairs and other social issues.

I reach out to parents, occasionally make courtesy visits to their homes.”

Although she’s currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management, Dr Moatswi still has time for other community outreach projects, most of which are in north of Dibete, like the Disability Arts Festival, annual Teens Tour, My Tennis Vision Board, We Can Library Site, Youth Culture Day: “I do community work by extending my educational skills from classroom to the wider community by mentoring out-of-school youths in performing arts, present parenting for academic excellence, mother to daughter relationship at the kgotla, where I target parents, all services provided free of charge. My other engagements include serving as BEPA Vice Secretary, Red Carpet Prom, which targets Form 5 leavers – Swaneng and Lotsane Secondary Schools – to keep them engaged while they await high learning, so as to avoid social ills, linking them with different stakeholders like established artists,” she explains.

Indeed, Moatswi wears many hats, serving as a presidential competition adjudicator who is tasked with ensuring fair and constructive assessments.

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“I am deeply involved in various educational, sport and artistic initiatives. I’m a choir conductor, trainer and a presidential competition adjudicator for music; MYSEC engages from time to time. Additionally, as the director of We Can Charitable Trust – an NGO which deals with creative and performing arts – I’m dedicated to uplifting the art industry by providing skills and recognition to aspiring musicians, contributing to the cultural enrichment of our society. The charity organisation is based in Serowe as I was teaching there at the time it was founded in 2018, following completion of my BA in UKZN. What I learnt in South Africa was truly amazing. There are a lot of talented young people locally, so I asked several teachers to join me so as to give back to the community. We had so many projects (like the Western Classical Nights) leading up to the official launch in 2018 at Botsalo Hotel in Palapye, officiated by former PSP Morupisi. We train children in the Central District, most of our members are proficient in Italian or Western Classical,” she says with a smile.

Quite the socially conscious community builder, Moatswi counts the honorary doctorate she recently received from Washington University as one of her proudest achievements.

“This achievement complements my dedication to education, and it’s a privilege to continually enhance my expertise through ongoing pursuits,” she says proudly, adding she’s authored a book entitled ‘Upbringing of Teenager in the 21st Century’, influenced by her daughter who wrote one entitled ‘The Struggle of the Teenager in the 21st Century”.

And how is she able to do all these? “Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial. I prioritise effective time management, set boundaries, and delegate tasks when necessary. It’s about finding harmony between my professional commitments and personal life, ensuring both aspects thrive,” she says in conclusion.

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