EL teacher up for national honour

An East London teacher has been nominated for a national award.

EXTRA MILE: EL Science College teacher Solomon Baah Onwona has been nominated for a national excellence in teaching award Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

East London Science College economics teacher Solomon Baah Onwona has reached the finals of the National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards 2017 to be held in November.

Onwona has been with the school for more than five years and also assists with winter school and matric intervention classes. His parents and siblings are all teachers. Throughout his career, Onwona has brought excellent results out of his students.

In 2008, his Science College pupils achieved 100% for his subject.

The following year, he moved to Lumko High School. To raise the standard, Onwona hosted extra classes every day including Saturday and Sundays for 36 matrics. He used his own money to buy food for the pupils who came to the weekend classes.

Through hard work from both the teacher and pupils, the matric class that year achieved a 98% pass rate and the following year, 2010, a 92% pass rate.

Onwona returned to Science College in 2012 and has been there ever since. After being nominated by subject adviser Sydney Swazi for the award at district level, Onwona was invited by the district office to give a presentation on his career path. He won an award in the “excellence in secondary school teaching” category.

Onwona said winning the award meant a lot, and it confirmed that he was making a positive contribution.

“I absolutely love teaching and cannot imagine myself in any other career. Teaching is not just to earn a living but to build, educate and empower pupils. When I step onto the school premises, I do not consider myself just an economics teacher but a parent, friend, and social worker. I constantly motivate and encourage my pupils.”

On Facebook, former and current pupils congratulated him for his district award and the national nomination.

Sibongile Mapontsela wrote: “I really don’t know where to begin when talking about you sir. I first met you in Grade 11 as my economics teacher and I remember I failed your surprise test which resulted in you giving me a “strong 2”. That motivated me and shaped me to be the person I am today. Thank you for always pushing me beyond my limits, you believed in me when I failed to believe in myself. You played the role of a teacher, parent and motivational speaker all at once.”

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