Staff in the School of Education’s Chemistry discipline are celebrating their latest crop of graduates on the Edgewood campus – students who progressed from demonstrators to fully qualified teachers.

The graduates shared their experiences for the year that they worked together in two of the chemistry modules as demonstrators in the Discipline. Of most concern to them were the challenges of working with their peers who expected a lot from them.

The demonstrators said there was a need for a support base to help them navigate this split role of being both a student and a demonstrator assisting fellow students.

On the positive side, demonstrators said the experience helped them gain a better understanding of content, and increased their confidence in the subject matter and related science process skills.

Demonstrators usually compete for these positions and only a few are selected.

According to lecturer and module co-ordinator Dr Lebala Kolobe, lecturers are responsible for the development of demonstrators.

‘In most cases, students find themselves doing this duty only for a few months,’ said Kolobe. ‘From the lecturer’s point of view, there is no continuity in terms of building this team over a period of time, that would benefit both the students being assisted and the Discipline itself in terms of creating a pool of competent demonstrators. Therefore, the smooth running of this endeavour depends on all parties playing their role.’

‘Demonstrators are completing their Bachelor of Education in Physical Sciences degree after which they expect to obtain teaching positions in schools nearby while they pursue an honours degree in Science Education. So we wish them well in their professional growth and continued collegiality,’ said Kolobe.

Words: Melissa Mungroo