Sameerah Mahomed

"I don't wait for opportunities to come my way, I create them!"
Sameerah is a Grade 3 Senior Resident Teacher at Nova Pioneer Ormonde in Johannesburg, South Africa

Why do you work at Nova Pioneer? What keeps you here?

I work at Nova Pioneer because I am someone who thrives on growth and challenges. I love working hard but teaching at Nova Pioneer has taught me what it means to truly LOVE productivity. I work hard while I am at work and I have no qualms about working at home occasionally because I really enjoy what I do! The fact that growth is something that this organisation prides itself on is what motivates me to keep working harder than I think myself capable of. Here, I am finally getting the opportunity to be the leader that I was born to be.

What inspires you most about your work at Nova Pioneer?

The people. Right from my students, to my colleagues and the leadership team. Everything that I do is with the thought of how they will be influenced or affected by my actions. This makes me take extra care with each task that I am assigned to, or I assign myself to. Although this places a great responsibility on my shoulders, it makes me proud of what I can achieve and the impact I can have on any number of people.

In what ways have you grown since joining Nova Pioneer?

I am convinced that at Nova Pioneer, I am being groomed for the role I was born to be – someone who is going to make a difference. I joined Nova Pioneer with the goal of bettering myself and I already see this change coming on. Because I have regular check-ins with the Dean of Instruction, who coaches me not only in aspects of the classroom but also on how to progress within the organisation, I know that whatever I do does not go unnoticed.

These check-ins also provide me with opportunity to reflect on my teaching and on how I deal with others within the organisation. In this way, if I am struggling with something, I can reflect on it and make changes where necessary. Under the guidance of my coach, I know that I am never alone.

Most teachers will resonate with a sense of being ‘stifled’ in the way they plan lessons, the way they teach these lessons and the outcomes they are expected to achieve. At Nova Pioneer, feeling stifled is something I have forgotten the feeling of. Here, I can express my personality in my teaching and because of the way our day is structured, I can allow my students to express themselves constructively as well. What better way to truly display what we are all about?

Share a story of one of your most memorable moments at Nova Pioneer.

Listening to how well my students can express themselves! In past experiences, many students battle to talk about what they know, or don’t know. They struggle to put their emotions into words. The first time I held a Reflection Meeting in my new classroom, I was blown away by the way the students could articulate their feelings and thoughts, with examples!

One particular student even gave a fellow classmate some constructive feedback about his behaviour during the lesson in a tactful, kind manner. She went as far as giving him suggestions for how to improve his behaviour, which he promptly put into action.

What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?

I don’t wait for opportunities to come my way, I create them! I enjoy networking with all sorts of people and seeing how we can form relationships with each other. I seek opportunities that allow others to grow and prosper as I want success for my colleagues as much as I want it for myself.

I am passionate about people and finding out what interests them. This is why the parent-teacher relationship interests me so much. I pride myself on forming positive relationships with my students’ parents. It is important that they see me not only as their child’s teacher, but as a parent and a member of society as well. If students see their parents and teachers collaborating it immediately gives them a sense of belonging and comfort both at home and at school.

What advice do you have for teachers considering joining Nova Pioneer?

One important thing for prospective candidates to know is that the Nova Pioneer model of career progression is so unique. In my previous teaching experience, teachers were evaluated once a year in the IQMS (Integrated Qualitative Management System). This system does not take progression into account. There are no guidelines for getting into a position other than the one you are currently in.

At Nova Pioneer we are evaluated constantly and consistently. Not only do you receive feedback bi-weekly, your manager/coach will work closely with you to form annual goals. They will also guide you on ways to achieve them. At the beginning of the year you will receive a Competency Framework that outlines all the expectations per role.

If you aspire to be a Dean, you will know exactly what expectations to work towards in order to get into that role. I think this is amazing because at the beginning of the year when I receive these guidelines I can already align my mind to the expectations of the position I aspire to fill.