Tutor of the Month: July 2019

Acacia A. is our July 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Acacia has been a BrightSparkz tutor since April 2018, and has tutored primary and high school learners, as well as our sponsored learners. She has tutored more than 160 hours to date!
 

Acacia matriculated from Danville Park Girls High School in 2013, achieving 6 distinctions, most notably in Afrikaans First Additional Language, History and English Home Language. Acacia is studying a Bachelor of Arts at Vega, after completing 2 years of Engineering Studies at UCT. She has tutoring experience with both the IEB and CAPS curricula, and has worked with young learners who required extra care, patience and redirection to the task at hand. Acacia describes herself as multifaceted and eager to explore interesting opportunities that come her way. The three aspects she strives to apply to any given task are: creativity, passion and organization. In her spare time, Acacia loves making art and writing.

Thank you Acacia, you are an incredible tutor, and we are so very proud to have you as part of our BrightSparkz Team. 

Tutor of the Month: June 2019

Great tutors

Langutelani S. is our June 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Langutelani has been a BrightSparkz tutor since June 2018, and has tutored school and adult level learners, assisted with concessions and is one of our Zulu Boot Camp tutors!
 

Langutelani is a brilliant tutor who is always looking for ways to add to the academic growth of anyone she can help. She is there for clients in a variety of ways, including assisting as a concessions facilitator, operating as one of our most trusted Zulu Boot Camp facilitators, and doing incredible work as a multilingual school subject tutor, for which she has local as well as international experience. Langutelani is also a student teacher at the African Union International School where she teaches Zulu, English and French basics to beginners. She holds a National Diploma in Metallurgical Engineering from the Tswane University of Technology and is currently in her first year of study towards a Postgraduate Teaching Certificate through the University of South Africa. She always puts special effort into relating to her students’ needs, motivating and encouraging them along the way. During her spare time, Langutelani enjoys playing sports such as hockey as well as attending soccer matches for fun! She also enjoys playing board games, writing shorts stories, hiking and sightseeing.

Thanks for being such a valuable member of the BrightSparkz Joburg team!

Setting SMART Goals

Somehow, the end of the semester has snuck up on you, and amidst all the things that are on your to-do list, up pops the dreaded exam timetable. It’s a stressful time for your kids, and it’s a stressful time for you. On top of everything else that’s going on, you have to find time to help your kids study for their exams. But isn’t there a better way?

Setting goals is a simple way to help your kids start off the right way. Instead of leaving everything to the last minute, running out of time to do things properly, or panicking at the load of work that has to be done, why not start studying from the beginning of the school term?

Well, this seems like a great idea, but what’s a practical way to prevent procrastination and begin the year on the right foot? The answer is setting effective goals, and a great way to do this is using the SMART method of goal setting.

What are SMART goals?

So, what are SMART goals, anyway? George Doran created the idea in an article he wrote about setting management goals and objectives. However, the technique is so effective that it is used in a variety of contexts by loads of diverse people for different reasons. Here is a guideline you can use to help your child set effective SMART goals.

Let’s start with “S” for SPECIFIC

This means they should write a detailed and thorough goal. If the goal is too general or unclear, they will struggle to achieve it. Instead of saying “I want to do well in my subjects”, rather say “I want to improve my marks by 10% this term”.

The next letter is “M” for MEASURABLE

The goal needs to be measurable, otherwise how will they know if they are succeeding? Form benchmarks to establish whether they are reaching their goalpost. For example, if they want to better at mathematics, they can start off by practicing a certain number of equations each day. Then, complete practice quizzes, tests, and examinations. They will see an improvement in their scores as they practice consistently, learn from their mistakes, and get better with every practice assessment.

Third, we have “A” for ATTAINABLE

An attainable goal is something that is possible for them to achieve. If they are failing a subject, it is unrealistic to set the goal of getting a distinction, and they will just get discouraged when they can’t accomplish an unrealistic goal. Rather, set the goal of improving by percent.

The “R” stands for RELEVANT

Ask why they want to achieve this goal? Is their goal relevant to their life? Does it fit in with their short-term and long-term goals? Do they have the resources to complete this goal? If they consider the rewards of achieving their goal, it will help motivate them and help them stay committed even when things get challenging.

Finally, let’s look at “T” for TIMELY

Does their goal have a deadline? They need to have a starting point and an ending point for their goal, otherwise they will struggle to find the motivation to work toward it. Creating a routine will help them realise their goals because they will work towards them little by little every day, instead of rushing around at the last minute. Be flexible, but don’t let things fall between the cracks. Like the tortoise taught us, slow and steady wins the race!

Do the work!

Understanding these steps and working with your child to put them into practice will help you and them make the most of the time available. But it’s not enough just to have SMART goals, they still have to build an action plan and do the work! So now that they’ve set their SMART goals they are ready to improve their marks and allow their schedule to help them succeed.

Writing effective SMART goals

Don’t say: I want to do well in English

Rather say: 

This term, I will improve my essay writing by 10% by

  • planning my essay,
  • completing a draft one week before the deadline,
  • asking my friends and teacher to review my draft,
  • and revising my essay at least three times before handing it in.

Download your SMART goals template hereUse this template to start working on your own SMART goals!

 

Written by Vicki Snyman, BrightSparkz Tutor and Guest Blogger

Tutor of the Month: May 2019

Dimitri G is our May 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Dimitri has been a BrightSparkz tutor since December 2017, and he has done an INCREDIBLE 375 hours of tutoring for us!
 

Dimitri matriculated from Fairmont High School in 2013 with 7 distinctions. He has completed his BCom majoring in Business Management, and is currently doing his Honours in BCom Business Management majoring in Financial Management, through UNISA. He was the Deputy Chairperson of his college’s SRC in 2016, and headed up a project assisting children with learning difficulties such as Down’s Syndrome and Autism with a school market day. He has completed his Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate, and plans to teach English in Asia in his future. Dimitri joined BrightSparkz in November 2017 and has accumulated over 370 tutoring hours. Dimitri receives raving reviews from all of his clients who are delighted to have him as a tutor.

Dimitri, thank you for all the time and effort you invest into tutoring; you are an incredible tutor and we are privileged to have you as part our BrightSparkz Team.

Tutor of the Month: April 2019

Riven R is our April 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Riven has been a BrightSparkz tutor since September 2018, and she has done 30 hours of tutoring for us!
 
Riven is a helpful, friendly and trustworthy tutor. He Matriculated from Edenglen High School with stupendous results affording him entry into the University of Witwatersrand. He is currently in his third year studying his BSc in Biological Sciences degree, majoring in Genetics and Microbiology. Riven enjoys cricket and his skill-set and leadership qualities awarded him the Captaincy of First Team cricket at his high school in 2013. Some of Riven’s valuable qualities include being comfortable in his knowledge base in order to tutor the subject given, he sets the tone well for the lesson and engages with the learner and their needs. Riven delights in engaging in sports such as cricket, volley-ball, soccer and swimming.
 
Riven tutors a variety of subjects, including Maths, Physical Science and English.

Tutor of the Month: March 2019

Christie M is our March 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Christie has been a BrightSparkz tutor since July 2016, and she has done an impressive 113.5 hours of tutoring for us!
 
Christie matriculated from Rhenish Girls’ High School in 2015 with excellent results, including 88% for Maths and 89% for Physical Science. She is currently studying her BSc majoring in Ocean, Atmosphere Science and Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town. She received full academic colours in high school, while also working part time and has been volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Christie has also studied Manderin for the past 4 years. Christie is engaging and passionate about teaching and helping others. Christie enjoys going diving or hiking in her free time and describes herself as honest, empathetic and understanding. Christie joined BrightSparkz in 2016 and has an amazing achievement of over 113.5 tutoring hours with us and shows no sign of slowing down.
 
Christie tutors a variety of subjects, including Maths and Physical Science and has had outstanding feedback from her clients:
 
“For the first time she understood how to do fractions in a simple way. Christie seems to have explained and shown the concepts of multiplication and fractions very well. My child is so confident even if it’s only the first lesson.”
 

The Importance of Extra-Curricular Activities at School

With the busyness of everyday life, you may be wondering if it is worthwhile for your child to participate in extra-curricular activities at school. Won’t it just add more pressure onto your child, and onto your already hectic schedule?

activities

However, there are definite benefits to allowing your child to participate in extra-curricular activities:

Sports & team activities

  • Participating in sports will develop sport-specific skills in your child if they show interest in a certain sport.
  • Fitness, strength and endurance will be developed, to counteract all the sedentary activities (TV, PlayStation, Cell phone usage and computer games) that many children engage in.
  • Children also learn to play in a team and develop sportsmanship.

Physical activity will also lessen the risk of your child becoming overweight due to too many sedentary activities. Alarmingly, South African has a rapidly rising childhood obesity challenge which is worse than the situation in the US!

Other physical activities

Of course, not all children enjoy sports participation or have the co-ordination to participate in ball or team sports. You could also consider activities like the following, depending on where your child’s interests lie:

  • Swimming
  • Dancing/ballet
  • Martial arts
  • Gymnastics or trampolining

Physical activity of any type is great for your child’s concentration at school with the increased flow of oxygen to the brain and the release of endorphins whilst exercising. Furthermore, it enables children to build their confidence as they master new skills and participate in activities.

Non-physical extra-mural activities

Your child may also develop other interests which do not involve physical activities, such as playing chess, art classes, drama, science club or music. You may have a future chess world champion or another Einstein living under your roof! All of these are avenues for your child to grow and discover where their talents lie!

School activities versus club activities

Your child may have interests which are not offered at school, such as martial arts classes or horse riding. If you can, send them for lessons at an outside club. They will meet new people in different environments and be able to grow a larger network.

If not, encourage them to participate in school activities or activities offered in the community which also offers many benefits.

The importance of participating in school activities

Participating in activities at the school, and perhaps being part of a school team representing the school, offers several benefits to your child:

  • They get to know some of their teachers outside the classroom environment. This can lead to better relationships with the teachers and their team-mates.
  • They will make a name for themselves at school. This may help them be more visible to the student body when it is time to choose prefects or learner representatives when the student body has a vote.
  • It will help them develop a sense of pride in their school and leave them with fond memories in the years to come.
  • They will learn the value of teamwork, give them a sense of belonging and accomplishment.
  • Involvement as part of a team or another extra-curricular activity is important especially if your child is not particularly strong academically. Being involved and being good at activities other than school work will raise their self-esteem.

 

If you would like to see your child improve confidence in their academic performance, there are some extra-curricular activities available which will assist your child to a greater accomplishment in their academic realm.  These include:

Afrikaans Boot Camp – this will help the child struggling with poor Afrikaans marks to improve their marks and confidence.

Zulu Boot Camp – to assist the child who has just started learning Zulu at school to be ahead of the pack.

Study Skills Crash Course – this short, two lesson course will assist your child to know what learning style they prefer and give them study tips to improve their confidence.

If your child already participates in a variety of extra-curricular activities but you would like to see equal commitment and improvement in their school marks, why not get a hand-picked tutor to assist? Your tutor will assist not only with academic subjects, but very often they make a difference in your child’s life by motivating and encouraging them as well!

A well-rounded child is a happy child! Balance is key to your child’s ultimate success in life, so encourage them to participate in suitable extra-curricular activities at school.

 

Written by Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz Staff & Blog Writer

Tutor of the Month: February 2019

Monique S is our February 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Monique has been a BrightSparkz tutor since October 2017, and she has done an amazing 225 hours of tutoring for us!
 
Monique matriculated in 2015 with excellent results, including two distinctions. She then went on to study her Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Science through the University of Pretoria. Monique joined BrightSparkz in 2017 and has an amazing achievement of over 225 tutoring hours with us, having tutored a variety of Grades and Subjects with great success and excellent feedback. One of her specialty subjects is Afrikaans and she is one of our trained Afrikaans Boot Camp facilitators. Monique is a friendly, helpful and hard working tutor. She has great problem solving skills and always goes above and beyond for her clients and students. Monique has been an outstanding tutor and such a pleasure to work with as she is always willing, even at short notice for any last minute requests. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, going to the gym and playing the piano. She balances her studies, work and social life well but always puts her students first.

Thank you Monique, you are an incredible tutor, and we are so very proud to have you as part of our BrightSparkz Team.

 

Tutor of the Month: January 2019

Michael M is our January 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Michael has been a BrightSparkz tutor since May 2018, and he has done an amazing 144 hours of tutoring for us!
Michael matriculated on the Cambridge curriculum from Highfield High School in 2010 with excellent results, and went on to complete his BSc Honours in Mathematics and his Post Graduate Certificate in Education, specializing in Mathematics. He has taught at Holy Rosary and St Jude before, where he was voted best Maths teacher and best teacher. Michael is currently teaching Maths at Holy Cross and has in total tutored more than 6 years on top of his teaching experience, including tutoring UNISA students for a year. He is a fantastic communicator, who engages his learners with diagrams and simplified explanations, and who describes himself as patient and analytical. He has been a Maths teacher for more than 10 years, and has tutored Maths to learners in Grades 8, 9, 11 and 12, as well as tutoring Applied Mathematics to a university Engineering student!
Here’s what Michael’s learners have to say about him:
“My son, Daniel, felt the work was explained in another manner than at school which made the topic being studied much clearer. It seems as though he has a new enthusiasm/motivation to work on Maths.”
“I am absolutely thrilled with Michael. Thank you. He has identified where the problems lie and is going to do the schedule accordingly.”
Thank you for all your hard work Michael!

Tips To Manage Your Matric Year

Why your Matric year is vitally important for a successful future

You will remember your Matric year for your entire life. It ends your school years and unlocks the door to your future, whether you are intending to study further or start working after school.

Grade 11 was a tough year, and you may even have been told that Grade 11 is the toughest and most important year of your high school career. If you have any intentions of tertiary study, you would have been told that your final Grade 11 results give you a provisional acceptance into university study.

Matric year

While this is true, your Matric year is vitally important to your future in several ways:

Academic

  • Your admittance to university ultimately depends on your final Matric results. Although you may have got straight A’s in Grade 11, if you goof off in Matric and all your marks drop, you have no guarantee of a university acceptance.
  • There are far more university applicants than there are places on offer, so you will not be accepted with mediocre marks. Work hard in Matric!
  • Grade 12 has a high workload which you will need to negotiate in order to fit in all your studies. You will need to develop some time management skills which you may have not used or developed before. These will be so important in your future.
  • Remember that you have a short teaching school year due to all the exams you will be writing this year. You will write mid-year exams in June/July, prelims around September and finals in October/November. You will thus be writing exams most of the year!
  • Pay attention in class. Ask your teacher if you do not understand anything. Your teachers are keen to see you do well and are normally more than willing to assist you.

Tip 1: develop a study plan to ensure that you cover all your subjects and stick to it! Tweak it if necessary but stick to it otherwise! See our tips on how to create a study plan here.

Tip 2: Start working from the beginning of the year! This will take some of the strain off you. Do your homework and ensure that you are understanding the work as you go along. If you run into any trouble with hard-to-understand work, get help sooner rather than later. Hire an experienced and supportive tutor from BrightSparkz Tutors to assist you. They have already successfully negotiated the path that you find yourself on.

Social

  • You will need to manage your time well in order to fit in sports or extra-mural activities as well as some time for a social life with your friends.
  • The better organised you are, the easier it will be to fit everything in. It is good to have balance in your life and not only study all the time. Be sure to factor in some rest and relaxation into your schedule as well.
  • Even if you don’t like sport or exercise, it is vitally important to you when you have such intense study to focus on. All the oxygen your brain will get from you exercising will improve your concentration, as well as give you a healthy, fit body! Choose any form of exercise you prefer, whether a team sport, jogging with a friend, or working out alone in the gym.
  • The Matric Dance or Matric Farewell is on the cards and it is the social event of the year! It is a time that most Grade 12’s look forward to. Even if you are not looking forward to it, it is important to attend the event as it is something which defines an end of a phase in your life and you may always regret not attending. It is also an event that many people reminisce about in years to come.
  • The Matric Dance can be an expensive event, but with some forward planning and saving towards it, you can make the financial impact more bearable. It is also any opportunity to learn about working within a budget and prioritising the elements important to you.

Personal growth and experience

  • Matric is an intense year, full of growth opportunities. It is likely the year where you become old enough to vote in the elections, get a driver’s license – and some independence!
  • You are now a young adult, although still dependent on your parents as you are not yet earning an income and most likely you still live at home.
  • You are beginning to realise that life is opening up for you, and you have many choices to make. The choices you make in this year can set you up for a successful life in the future, or conversely, set you back. This is a daunting thought and might scare you.
  • Remember though that you still have support and resources from your family, school, and friends before you are expected to test your wings and fly on your own. Take advantage of the support you have to grow in life skills, maturity, and even to gain some work experience in your areas of interest if possible.
  • Put some thought into how you’d like your future to look. How are you going to earn a living as an adult? Getting some part time work experience can help you decide!
  • If you intend to study further after Matric, put some serious thought into what you will study. You will likely be doing that work for many years. How will your studies be funded?
  • Students are often short of money and you may need to take on a part-time job to help fund your studies or at least your social life. Consider tutoring as an option. It is a way to learn valuable life skills and give back to others who can benefit from your skills.

BrightSparkz is a great way to gain work experience and help young people excel in life”. (Stephen M.)

I have had a very positive experience working with BrightSparkz. The reps are friendly, every email exchange has been pleasant. They are exceptionally organised, and I feel comfortable knowing I’m working for a serious, reputable company” (Molly J)

Plan to make your Matric year amazing! Learn to manage your time and develop important life skills. Enjoy your friends and family. Plan to study from the beginning and do your best. Make this year memorable for all the right reasons!

 

Written by Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz Staff & Blog Writer