44 Years in the Classroom: Adapting Teaching in the Digital Age

We know that one of the most important elements of success for an online school is the team of teachers, and the efforts they make to engage and motivate students. One of our wonderful Primary School teachers, Ansie Schlecter, has been teaching students for 44 years now! We asked her how the classroom has evolved over the years, and how online schooling has informed the way she teaches her classes.


Hi Ansie, you have been teaching for 44 years now, how has it evolved over those years? 

During my many years of teaching in South Africa and abroad, I have learned that the basic needs of all children will always be the same. Children need to be unconditionally accepted and feel loved and safe in a caring environment. They need boundaries and will accept structured discipline if it is fairly applied and done from a place of love and guidance.  


“There is no limit to the resources”


Teaching methods and curriculum content have seen vast improvement, and children are being brought up in a more stimulating environment than years ago. While they have a wider and richer perception in terms of sensory experience, more is expected of them at an earlier age. They are privileged to grow up with technology, improving their intellectual skills tremendously. There is no limit to the resources they have. Years ago, the access that children had to further their knowledge was not what it is today.  


Online schooling eliminated the need for a  “physical classroom” – and being a different environment, it calls for a different approach.  We pay special attention to each child’s physical and mental well-being by adapting our teaching skills to incorporate these important elements.  Many children grow up with a single parent or they have parents that work all day.and some children are on their own after school.  


Each household comes with its own challenges – and with this being an online audience – we pay special heed to the needs of our children to ensure they get the best care and support that we can offer.  


What drives you as a teacher? 

The look in children’s eyes when they understand and make learning material their own; that sparkle! Also, the contentment and happiness that looks like an aura around them in class when they eagerly absorb the new and interesting knowledge. 


“To make learning an interesting and fun experience, is my driving force each day.”


 Joanne Cass wrote about children: “The days that make us happy, make us wise.” A school day should be something to look forward to, every day. Every day spent teaching children is a happy day for me! 


What grades do you enjoy teaching most? 

I enjoy teaching Grade 1 or Grade 2 most. Teaching a child the basic skills, to do Mathematics, to read and write, to be able to share and write down what they experience is very fulfilling. Their reading skills are very important, because I believe reading is like breathing, you must do it!  


Making children aware of the wonderful world around them, leading them down the various paths their learning will take them is, in my opinion, both a calling and a privilege.  Watching them learn and understand the “magic” of Science, History and Geography; teaching them computer skills in ICT; introducing them to different Art techniques and leading them to create their own Artwork; witnessing their growth as each year comes to pass… This, to me, is the magic of teaching.  


How has online teaching been a game changer? Has it changed the way you teach? 

Covid changed the face of online schooling, due to the rising need for it.  In some ways online teaching is very similar to classroom teaching, however, online teaching is an absolute game-changer.  As with conventional schooling, the children arrive in class and the teacher guides and teaches them! 


“With the platform of technology at our disposal, the possibilities are endless!”


Children are very privileged to have excellent teachers and vast amounts of resources at their fingertips. It is much more demanding to teach online, as teachers have to prepare extensively in order to stimulate learners and provide interesting and successful lessons. At the same time, it is also much more rewarding as children can learn and grow in many more directions and ways! Children can be anywhere in the world and still have access to the best education at Teneo.  


Online school allows talented learners who excel in sports to travel and take part in events anywhere in South Africa or abroad without sacrificing their academic progress. In many cases parents can travel abroad to pursue their careers without any disruption in schooling for their children. We live in a global village, and we can broaden the horizons of children by embracing the opportunity to discuss the cultures of other countries with the children living there now. Children are exposed to so much more at a much earlier age, thanks to the wonderful opportunities provided by Teneo Online School.