pupils lockdown

2020 has been a tough year for pupils and their teachers. Image: Adobe Stock

Competition to celebrate teachers inspired by ‘My Octopus Teacher’

The Western Cape Education Department is holding a school library competition to recognise the wonderful work teachers have done this year.

pupils lockdown

2020 has been a tough year for pupils and their teachers. Image: Adobe Stock

The competition is being held in recognition of October having been both national Teacher’s Month and International School Library Month.

Though everyone’s calendar is a little mixed up now thanks to the global coronavirus pandemic, it is never too late to celebrate excellence in education.

The competition will see six Western Cape schools each winning R20,000 towards library and e-resources. That means three primary schools and three secondary schools will each receive R20,000 for winning entries in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

Competition inspired by poignant documentary

My Octopus Teacher
The South African-made documentary inspired the Western Cape Education Department’s competition for pupils. Image: Supplied

“We’ve borrowed the name of a popular documentary as our theme — My Octopus Teacher — in recognition of the multiple roles our teachers juggle on a daily basis,” Kerry Mauchline, the spokesperson for Western Cape Education Minister Debbie Schäfer, said in a statement.

The film, released in September, was directed by James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich, and documents a diver’s interactions with an octopus that lives in a kelp forest off Cape Point.

“Our teachers do far more than just teach academic content. They are also the ones that our learners turn to for emotional support, advice and career guidance.

“They keep an eye on our learners’ health and wellbeing. They coach school sport and host after-school programmes. They help schools to raise funds for their schools and some are part of the school management team,” Mauchline said.

“This year, teachers have had to take on another role – that of ensuring that our schools and learners follow the safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

Teachers gave it their all in 2020

pupils lockdown
2020 has been a tough year for pupils and their teachers. Image: Adobe Stock

Because no-one knows just how important our teachers are quite like pupils do, the department wants to hear from pupils themselves about the many wonderful ways in which teachers supported them throughout 2020.

Each school is invited to collect submissions from their pupils — letters, presentations or any other format that can be sent electronically. These must be sent to the Western Cape Education Department as a single pack per school.

Pupils will need to answer these questions:

  • Describe what your teachers meant to you during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they supported you and your classmates.
  • What are the multiple roles that they play in supporting you?
  • Motivate how the books/e-resources prize would help to make your teachers’ task a little easier.

The closing date for the competition is 15 December.

“To our teachers: thank you for your work during this difficult year. You are our daily superheroes and you continue to inspire us with your dedication to our learners.”

For more information, send an email to: Timothy.Cloete@westerncape.gov.za