Kiyara Bellochun, a second year Honours student in Childhood Education, chose to become a teacher to share love and to spread positivity.
“Every child deserves to be loved, every child deserves attention, and every child deserves at least one person who believes in them. I want to be that person for as many children as I can reach.”
Childhood experiences shape a passionate educator
The 23-year-old comes from a community where teachers were well respected and appreciated. She has always looked up to her teachers, throughout primary school, watching how they carried themselves and cared for the learners.
“No matter the child’s ability, we were all taken care of, and our learning needs were met.”
It was during her high school years that Kiyara experienced a less conducive learning environment with teachers who favoured high achieving learners over others who needed more attention.
“It was during those years and the sadness that I felt that motivated me to be a teacher. I loved going to school during my primary school years and it was because I went to a place where there was love, joy and learning and I want to be that teacher for somebody.”
Reshaping lives: Kiyara Bellochun’s mission
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) student is studying towards reshaping the lives of South African children and teachers.
Kiyara is one of the student teachers who were part of the recent launch of the Makerspace Studio at the Funda UJabule school at the UJ Soweto Campus.
“These children are phenomenal. What I have learnt is that children don’t need to be told what to do or limited in a creative space. We often heard about constructivism theories while doing undergrad and even postgrad, but I never really got the opportunity to see it in play. Through interacting with the children in the Makerspace and seeing them make things and tinker about with the teacher only being the facilitator, I saw them problem-solve, communicate with one another, share ideas, and build things that I didn’t even imagine were possible. They had an opportunity to construct their own knowledge while the teacher just acted as a navigator.”
She added: “Having a creative learning space is beneficial for individuals as it allows you to be yourself. In a space such as the Makerspace, the teacher very seldomly says ‘No, you can’t do that’. By allowing learners that opportunity to be themselves they can explore and discover their own strengths in learning and work towards strengthening that.”
UJ’s Caring Environment: A perfect fit for Kiyara’s journey
Kiyara chose to further her studies at UJ because she considers it to be a university that cares for people.
“UJ is a dynamic university with many avenues of developing students. From academia to sports and recreation and technology and innovation. UJ was the best decision I made for myself. My blood is orange and always will be. I am a proud member of the orange army.”
Kiyara serves as a program coordinator for Creative Coding and Robotics for teachers in the Department of Childhood Education, Faculty of Education.