Angela Robertson When people ask me how I came to be interested and passionate about education I think of a quote by another UNISA English intern: “I didn’t find teaching, teaching found me.” This quote epitomises my journey towards becoming an English educator and the learnership programme at St Stithians College has been an invaluable part of that journey. The learnership programme is such a wonderful opportunity. I feel that had I not been privileged enough to spend the time I have at Saints I would not have the confidence I now possess to be able to teach and facilitate lessons. This programme has set me on the path to becoming the competent, confident and hopefully influential educator I aspire to be. I am the younger of two daughters. My parents have been happily married for thirty-one years and they have been in business together, successfully, for twenty-five of those years. My sister is a successful and highly sought after Graphic Designer. She has played a profound role in my life, especially when it came to encouraging me to pursue writing and English as a subject. We are an extremely close-knit family, who are often found to be laughing. My parents have provided my sister and I with many wonderful opportunities for which I am extremely grateful. They also brought my sister and me up on strong Christian morals and values which have stood me in good stead. While I was studying for my photography diploma at Allenby Campus I developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge. This thirst caused my parents to tease me that I would become a “professional student.” I am proud to say I have become a “professional student” whose job involves sharing my knowledge with others. I have been afforded an excellent education by my parents over the years. This has resulted in me attaining a Prestige Certificate in Professional Photography and a Certificate in Cordon Bleu Cookery, not to mention the many other smaller courses and workshops I have attended. I longed, however, to attend University to study a Bachelor’s degree. This resulted in me enrolling for a four-year Bachelor of Education, Senior Phase and FET degree, at the University of South Africa, at the age of 24. If I cast my mind back to when I was in Grade 10, while at Crawford College Sandton, I can remember the moment I felt any inkling towards education. I was never really conscious of a career in education due to my desire to become a professional photographer from the age of 13. It was this desire for photography which led me to join the school’s photography club in Grade 10. While I was in Grade 11 we were required to complete a project, for Art, where we developed all our photographs in the school’s darkroom. I was already a year ahead of my classmates, with regards to developing photographs, and they soon began to ask for my assistance. It was in this moment that I first realised how much I truly enjoyed explaining things and instructing others. It took me many years, however, before I returned to that initial “thrill.” I cannot express how much it has meant to me as a student of education to spend the time I have at St Stithians College. It is an extremely beneficial experience for any person wishing to embark on a career as an educator. My initial days at Saints, which involved mainly observation of lessons, were a time when I attempted to soak up as much knowledge and experience as I could. Any worksheets and handouts which I could take home with me became the first of many invaluable resources for the future. This is uncommon, as many first year teachers do not have this opportunity and begin their career with few, if any, resources. The internship programme has also been extremely beneficial for me as a UNISA student. As we do not have lectures and any valuable contact time to discuss assignments with lecturers and fellow students it has been a relief for myself to know that I can ask qualified educators. In the past two years there have been several occasions where I have not only consulted with my mentor on assignment questions and how to answer them but also with other experienced educators. I have consulted with: the English department, the IT department, the academic support department and the history department, all who have helped me tremendously and lessened my anxiety for assignments and examinations. There is also the advantage of having fellow UNISA students on campus; we are able to share our experiences with modules, textbooks and tips on how to answer assignments and examinations. This advantage has improved my academic performance and the way in which I approach and execute my assignments for University. I believe that the mentor/intern aspect of the programme is the most beneficial. The advantage of having the wealth of knowledge from educators who have twenty or even forty years of teaching experience at your disposal is inestimable. My time as an intern at St Stithians College has also benefitted me with regards to my confidence and being able to execute and design a lesson. I cannot adequately convey my gratitude to St Stithians College and the learnership programme. I hope that soon more schools in South Africa will adopt a programme of having interns/ teacher assistants. This would mean that more students of education would be able to learn from this experiential opportunity which the learnership programme affords the interns of St Stithians College.