Very few people can boast about teaching in the same school where they used to work as a cleaner.
But Thembi Jele, 52, is living proof that you can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it.
Jele is proud to say she worked hard to ascend from being a cleaner who struggled to make ends meet to become a Grade R teacher at Windmill Park Primary School.
Jele has qualified as a teacher at Sants Private Higher Institution, after studying since 2016, interrupted by breaks imposed by difficulties with fees.
With probably a decade left before Jele goes on pension, she still fought and pushed to ensure that she exchanged her tools of the trade from the mop to the chalk.
She admits the experience of working in a beautiful dress instead of the uniform and boots she was accustomed to since she started to clean at the school in 2001, is still foreign to her.
The beautiful part of her story is that she was actually pushed by educators at the school to pursue a career in education. They could see Jele had the potential to be a good teacher and turn her life around.
She said the educators and a gardener inspired her to study. And it was not only she who was hit by the study bug time – the gardener has become a human resources graduate from the University of Johannesburg.
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