Ms Effendi – Portavue Primary School

  1. What is your current role within the education space?

My current role is the Department Head of Grade 7 – Senior Phase. I am also the Subject Head for English for Grades 4 to 7. I am responsible for the moderation of assessment tasks and lesson plans.

  1. What inspired you to follow this career path?

As a university student I studied Psychology. I was specifically interested in the Education Psych modules. This inspired me to study Education as a focus in my 4th year.

  1. What do you love most about what you do?

What I love the most is interacting with my learners. My classroom is my happy place. I enjoy engaging with them and listening to the different stories about their lives. Some of their stories are very sad and I then try to take things upon myself to make a positive difference in the child’s life. I also enjoy seeing the “lights come on” when I am teaching a concept and my learners engage with me during the lesson.

  1. What attributes, do you feel, are important for success in your role?

Compassion and fairness. This is essential when dealing with all people. As an educator if you cannot show compassion to your learners, you cannot make a meaningful impact in their lives. In terms of fairness, you must be able to listen to a child or colleague and give them an opportunity to voice their feelings or explain a situation. Making assumptions without giving a fair hearing is counterproductive.

  1. What obstacles in life have you had to overcome, and what did you learn?

While I wouldn’t call my health an ‘obstacle’ as such, I have been hospitalised a few times and I also suffer from Epilepsy. At one point, my seniors felt that due to my condition, I should not be given too much responsibility as it might impact on my health i.e., stress leading to seizures etc. I obviously did not accept this and have proven myself to be a more than competent leader and support to my team.

  1. What advice do you have for young girls?

Being a female in the workplace has often been seen as a disadvantage however I believe that those times have changed. There are so many inspirational women in the world doing extraordinary things that your gender should no longer define what role you are supposed to play. I work with amazing women who have inspired me to go beyond what I thought were my limitations. My advice to young girls is: Decide what it is you want out of life and go for it! Nothing and no-one can hold you back but your own self-belief. There is always a way around an obstacle, and you will find it if you look hard enough.