The art of teaching mathematics, according to successful teacher

By: Giyani Baloi

A Zimbabwean born teacher Peter Baloyi became waxed lyrically during an interview when speaking about the art of teaching mathematics successfully.

The teacher has the distinction of having his 18 year top learner Gift Mabzwi of S J Van  der Merwe Technical High School, situated in Capricorn in Polokwane, Limpopo Province who attaining 97% in Technical Mathematics becoming a top achiever in that subject nationally.  

Peter Baloyi is a Zimbabwean born teacher who has a B Sc.(Hons) in Mathematics degree from Bindura University of Science Education in Zimbabwe. The teachers says mathematics is his favorite subject. “I want to debunk the notion that mathematics is a difficult subject” said Peter on a telephonic interview with me.

In 2005 Peter decided to come to South Africa to do a B Tech in Education at Pretoria Technical College, and during that time, he started interacting with some students, especially on mathematics his favorite subject. That’s when he picked that a lot of them needed help with mathematics. And it didn’t take him very long to have students flocking to his place for part time mathematics classes. However after completing his Degree at Pretoria Technical College, Peter went back to Zimbabwe to continue with his teaching. 

Unfortunately the economic situation in Zimbabwe kept on worsening and that affected everyone, including school teachers. As a result Peter decided to cross the shore back to South Africa, a country he had seen a need for mathematics teachers, especially in the villages and township schools.

He hooked up with a friend in Giyani, Limpopo Province and got a  teaching job at Nkwangulatilo High School. As one of the top maths teachers, it didn’t take long for him to be snatched by yet another School in Limpopo called Khanyisa Education Centre. 

In 2006 the South African Department of Basic Education under the then Minister Naledi Pandor created special posts for foreign teachers to teach mathematics in South Africa, and Peter could not miss that opportunity. So, he applied and got accepted. They posted him to Derek Kobe Technical High School in Lebowakgomo where he worked from 2007 until his contact was not renewed in 2020.

In the beginning of 2021, he joined the neighboring school S J Van der Merwe Technical High School, that’s where his class of 2021 Grade 12 learners came Gift Mabzwi the National top Technical Maths learner who obtained 97% in that subject. Peter described Gift as a very disciplined, hard working and has the right attitude of the kind of learners that tend to do very well in school, and part of that attitude is a belief that it is doable, including mathematics.

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