Bringing about positive change through mathematics
For the past four years, dedicated volunteer and teacher Rob Douglas has run twice-weekly maths workshops for Grade 11 and 12 learners from Masiphumelele and Fish Hoek High Schools to support struggling learners and coordinate peer-learning between the two schools. The sessions take place at Fish Hoek High School every Thursday and Saturday. The workshops have recently been extended to learners from Ocean View as well.
In the beginning, the students from Masi struggled to make their way to Fish Hoek due to a lack of funds. Masicorp stepped in to assist, providing funding to transport the learners each week. Today, the learners also receive a sandwich prepared by the hospitality students at Fish Hoek High school and sponsored by Fish Hoek Pick n Pay. The afternoon sandwiches give the students a boost so they can focus on the lessons.
Rob is passionate about teaching and believes that education brings about positive change. He argues that every human being has infinite potential and that every single person can succeed in maths. To Rob, mathematics is just another language that a person can become fluent in, with practice and a little help from others. During the lessons, he makes use of technology to aid the learners and capture their attention.
Rob believes that success in education is tied to how we can work together. “The sharing of all our resources is to the benefit of all concerned. Our work is one of solidarity, not charity. The fundamental transformation of our troubled but wonderful country is the inspiration for the programme,” Rob explains. He is therefore grateful to the teachers that work with him: Mr Mlandu (Masi High maths teacher), Heather Race (Masicorp volunteer), and Greg Hawtrey and Sarah Olckers (both FHHS). Rob also feels the classes would be difficult to continue without the support of Masicorp, such as the Pick n Pay sponsorship and connections with wonderful volunteers to help him teach the learners.
He hopes that the learners are inspired by the drive their peers show towards their education and the care that their educators invest in their success. He is also proud of the success and achievements of the pupils that he has taught in the past. “I am aware of a number of distinctions, a steadily improving pass rate and an exceptional learner last year who achieved close to 90% in mathematics,” he notes proudly, before adding, “But not everything that counts can be counted.”
The biggest reward for Rob is watching the confidence and efficiency of many learners blossom over the years because of a new understanding for mathematics. Many of them committed more than 50 hours, which resulted in the class of 33 reaching a 70% pass rate in 2018. His philosophy is that self-discipline is the key motivating factor in success. When you really care about the learners, they know it, they feel the support and it helps with their motivation. “The most profound results cannot be expressed with statistics,” he repeats.
In future, Rob and his team would like to expand these inter-school workshops to include other grades, including Grade 8. The teachers are hoping to organise a tutoring programme where senior students are paired with specific Grade 8 learners to improve their maths skills. The ultimate plan is to continue supporting the learners so they can reach their full potential.
Thank you to our wonderful supporters, friends, donors and volunteers who continue to give so generously towards this programme. If you would like to find out more, or help these learners attend the workshops each week by contributing towards transport costs, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org