Caption: Deputy Principal of Seshegong Secondary School, Mathibedi wa-Medupe, goes the extra-mile to ensure better futures for his learners.
Mathibedi wa-Medupe is one of South Africa’s many unsung heroes. The Deputy Principal of Seshegong Secondary School in Centurion has implemented changes that have drastically reduced the number of disciplinary incidents at the school, leading educators at other schools to replicate his successful methods.
“I used to sit with 15 -20 cases a week, I am now sitting with close to zero cases because of the learners’ hard work,” says Mr Medupe.
These changes, he says, are the result of a Values Champions Empowerment Session facilitated by Columba Leadership which he attended in 2015. Having realised that unruly gang-related behaviour at Seshegong was not a problem he could solve on his own, he learnt at how to use his passion to promote learner engagement. This includes the use of six tools; awareness, focus, creativity, integrity, perseverance and service. It led him to implement a value-based programme, made up of compulsory community service and a school culture of shared leadership founded upon a very intensive leadership application process. Importantly, all learners are now held accountable for their actions and understand how their behaviour can benefit or detract from overall school improvement.
“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. That has been Mr Medupe to us at Seshegong. He brought us together as learners, even those of us who have never been to the Columba Leadership Academy, and we all work together as a team,” says Triphina Masemola a grade 11 learner at Seshegong Secondary School.
“I wish our learners could see and hear themselves when they go out into the communities; they have come so far! I can only attribute this to the culture of learning and family and unity they now have with one another,” says Medupe.
“Coming to school some days was so hard, I had classes that were so despondent and disadvantaged,” he says. “I wondered how the class could progress in just nine months from where they are to where they need to be?’” says Medupe. “By making learners part of the learning process, I have shown them that they have a choice in what happens to them and it has made all the difference,” he says.
Mr Medupe’s passion for effective leadership has advanced beyond his own school. He has developed a leadership model for high school learners that has been implemented successfully at eight schools across Gauteng, and there are talks to expand this further in the next two years. These schools include Olievenhoutbosch Secondary School and Eersterust Secondary School “Mr Medupe has spent 17 years in education creating a challenging, yet welcoming classroom environment, where he maintains high standards and expectations for all students, regardless of differing learning styles or backgrounds,” says Monique Blignaut, , acting Columba Leadership Gauteng provincial manager.
“Educator development is a strong part of our programme. Educators have the power to change and develop learners so that when they leave school, they have met their full potential,” says Blignaut. “By meeting his learners where they are and encouraging them to be better, Mr Medupe has changed his whole school and his learner’s lives for the better,” she concludes.
For more about Columba Leadership refer to https://www.columba.org.za
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