Michaela Ludwig shares her journey from a Distribution Centre Assistant to a Qualified Teacher

Michaela Ludwig CropedBetween 27,799 and 31,799 teachers leave the profession every year. For one new teacher, Michaela Ludwig, the start of 2022 was very special as she began her career at Chameleon Junior School in Athlone, Cape Town in the Western Cape.

Michaela joined GTI in 2017 while in her 2nd year of study at UNISA and working full-time at a distribution centre. Before applying to GTI, she knew that she was not getting the support and practical experience she needed. She applied for the Future Leaders Programme and was fortunate to be accepted into the programme.

When she first joined the programme, it was an overwhelming experience for her. She was placed at a school for the first time and there was so much that she needed to learn. Michaela was not accustomed to working with other young aspiring teachers, and she needed to grow in confidence and become more vocal. The Friday professional development sessions helped her to improve, and during her time in the programme, she has discovered that learning is an ongoing process, a lifelong journey.

According to Michaela, graduating from the programme was a bittersweet moment because of the support she received from her Regional Schools’ Coordinator, Mrs Vuyelwa Poni and her mentor, Mrs Yvonne Piet at St Augustine Primary School, as she will miss them both dearly. Their support and guidance helped to shape her as a teacher and prepare her for life after graduation. She said that she is confident to walk into a school and become a professional teacher because of GTI.

“During my time in the programme, I have learnt about being professional in my workplace and with my learners, how to be a collaborative teacher and how important it is to be constantly reflective. I am fully equipped and grateful for the intern teachers I got to work with, the cross networking sessions with different regions, the staff and funders of GTI who have made this possible for me,” said Michaela.

A highlight for Michaela was when she hosted a social responsibility initiative, together with 8 other Future Leaders at Vergenoeged Primary School in 2021. Before handing out sanitary towels to young girls, she addressed school staff, learners, and some members of the community. This was a nerve-wracking moment for her, but with the help of the other interns, she was able to present successfully, and it was a significant accomplishment for her, helping to further grow her confidence as a young woman and as a teacher.

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“I want my learners to believe in themselves. They are capable of anything and everything if they put their minds to it and open themselves to learning. Knowledge is power! I dream of opening my own junior school where I can prepare learners to be active, informed and engaged citizens,” concludes Michaela.

Michaela is a GTI Future Leader graduate. Towards the end of 2021, she was offered three jobs before accepting a post at Chameleon Junior in Athlone. She continues to tutor in her community over the weekends.