a pupil in her class who attempted suicide encouraged her to bring
hope to her community through various projects. She tackled the
fight against HIV/Aids by obtaining a qualification in HIV/Aids care
and counselling and now provides counselling to her pupils and
people in her community. She also writes an HIV/Aids education
column in the community newspaper...... The Rising Sun.
She broadened this with an HIV/Aids
campaign at school in which the pupils of her school and those of
another 30 schools in the area, community stakeholders, health
professionals and educators got together for an educational week
that concluded with a visit to the Siyaphila McCords Centre and the
Dream Centre, which are homes for HIV-infected people. Here, the
pupils came face to face with the realities of HIV/Aids.
Narain-Mohan also promotes cultural
harmony in the community. Under the banner of the Phoenix Inanda
Coalition, she has helped to unite the black community of Inanda and
the Indian community of Phoenix through sports and cultural
How do you earn your living?
I am an educator.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Newlands West,
Which schools and university did
Briardale Primary School,
New West Secondary School, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Unisa.
Did you have a favourite teacher?
Yes, Mr Marcus Bhawanideen and Mr
How did they influence you?
They believed in me, inspired and
motivated me to accomplish my dreams. These educators were very
supportive, always had positive things to say and this helped build
my self-esteem and helped me grow up as a responsible, caring and
compassionate human being with respect and dignity for myself and
the people around me.
Do you still have contact with
Yes. When I completed my tertiary
education, I returned to the school that I attended as a pupil (New
West Secondary) and I have been teaching here for the past 13 years.
I have had the absolute pleasure and honour of teaching alongside
those amazing human beings who taught me.
What were your favourite subjects
English and Afrikaans. I had
excellent teachers. The present principal of New West Secondary was
my English teacher and he made the lessons very interesting and the
fact that he was prepared, made me want to learn. I enjoyed
Afrikaans because I was taught not just by an excellent teacher in
that field, but by a teacher who truly cared about my development in
the subject. He encouraged me to participate in Afrikaans debates,
speech contests, acting in school concerts and I had fun while I was
learning. Also, my Afrikaans teacher, Mr Bhawanideen, was a very
caring and understanding teacher and this made me really passionate
about the subject he taught me.
From your point of view, what are
the qualities of a good teacher?
A teacher needs to treat each pupil
as a human being, with respect and dignity. This will create a
comfortable and conducive environment for teaching and learning. A
good teacher is always caring and supportive while always ensuring
that he/she is the "captain of the ship". A good teacher will always
emphasise a pupil's strengths instead of constantly pointing out
his/her weaknesses and will use a more positive approach to ensure
that the pupil improves in weaker areas.
What are the things a teacher
should never do or say?
Never insult a pupil and make
him/her feel unworthy. Never tell a pupil he/she is stupid or has
produced terrible results. Never make racist statements or shout at
a pupil if he/she has given the incorrect response to a question as
this will embarrass the pupil. Never discuss one pupil with another
What message do you have for
teachers in South Africa?
It has become imperative that we as
educators adopt a more positive approach to teaching and learning.
South African pupils are plagued by many social injustices such as
HIV/Aids, poverty, crime and abuse and this hinders their ability to
learn. All of the social injustices create barriers to the process
of teaching and learning. We must adopt a more holistic approach to
teaching. I believe that imparting academic knowledge to our pupils
is important, but I also believe that it is important for teachers
to instil in their pupils good, sound, moral, social and spiritual
values that will help them develop into responsible adults and
compassionate leaders of our rainbow nation. There is potential in
every pupil. You just need to find the most positive approach to tap
into that potential.