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Pan Macmillan

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Jonathan Jansen Writes About Teaching at One of the Free States’ Worst Schools

Letters to My ChildrenJonathan Jansen, author of Letters to My Children: Tweets to Make You Think, has written about his experience teaching at one of the worst schools in the Free State for Times LIVE.

Jansen told the students that they were not the problem, but that they had been failed by their teachers. He made a deal with them to come to school earlier and leave later so that he could give them extra lessons. The teachers told him that this wouldn’t work but the children did turn up and were eager to learn:

I was expecting a riot. The 75 Grade 12 students found themselves, by cruel circumstances, inside one of the worst schools in the Free State. The government had withdrawn the subsidy of this quasi-private school because of the terrible examination results. The building was a shambles. Teachers came and left on a regular basis, some not receiving pay for months.

When I visited at the end of last year, I stood in shock as boys wearing ties around their heads drifted in and out of the dysfunctional school while uniform-clad couples “made out” in the streets outside the gates.

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