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The Aspiring Teachers Summit 2015

“We are here to proclaim the revival of teaching as a desirable vocation,” these were the words of Dr Mamphela Ramphele while giving a speech to an audience of over 160 student teachers. The annual convergence of aspiring teachers and mature educators, Aspiring Teachers Summit had already been under way for two days when Dr Ramphele joined the workshops to engage with participants. By then it was clear that the young teachers and aspiring educators had gotten a chance to reignite their passion for education and were all under way to build long lasting relationships with each other.

The Aspiring Teachers Summit, under the theme of “Teaching for the Bigger Picture”, ran for three days from Sunday 12th, 2015, and inspired conversations by young empowered and socially conscious aspiring educators to rethink education in South Africa. Held at the prestigious Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng in Phokeng Rustenburg, the summit which was planned and coordinated by LEAP Science and Maths Schools and Global Teachers Institute re-envisioned the roles of educators in the future of South Africa and called attention to the necessity of young teacher empowerment . The “GTI_educators” twitter handle and the event hashtag “#AspiringTeachersSummit” soon took conversations surrounding innovation in education, transformative teaching strategies and learner-centered teaching methods onto social media. In the end it was impossible to not share in to the excitement of the possibilities of a new story for education led by young South African leaders.

The Summit created a platform where educators and professionals from America could exchange their experiences with young aspiring teachers. The involvement of organisations like Teach With Africa made it possible for education innovators and creatives like Sam Husslington to take part in the conference. Together with the participants, Husslington prompted educators to reflect on the question, “What can I flip to make my lessons better?”, making reference to the revolutionary hip hop phrase of “flipping something from nothing.” All participants reflected on the possibilities of flipping South African education and teaching for the bigger picture.

As the evening of July 15th progressed and the Summit drew to a close it became clear that the experience was more than just a professional development workshop but a personal journey and a reminder to many of the young participants, why they are in the classroom. While the next Aspiring Teachers Summit promises to be bigger and better Global Teachers Institute hopes the summit was a transformative experience for all its student and aspiring teacher participants.

Article by Kopo Oromeng, Previous African Leadership Academy Student and currently in undergraduate studies at the Oberlin Institute in USA. Kopo is interning with LEAP for two months as part of an initiative between ALA and the ELMA Foundation to expose young African scholars to the social development sector. 

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