Teaching is a privilege and an immense responsibility – one that Prof Nuraan Davids, chair of the Department of Education Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education, does not take lightly.
It was recently announced that she is the recipient of a Stellenbosch University Distinguished Teacher Award. The function was held on 28 November.
Earlier this year, Prof Davids also received a commendation for excellence in teaching and learning from the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).
“I was attracted to teaching because of my own inspirational and phenomenal teachers. This award recognises the immense value and pride which I attach to my teaching. It is not only richly rewarding, but also inspires me to do better.
“My teaching thrives on engaging, deliberating and debating with my students. I don't think students realise the value that they bring into classes – that as I teach, I learn from them.
“Above anything else, teaching is a privilege, because a teacher or lecturer is in a position to influence and shape what and how students think. As a teacher I have the privilege of playing a meaningful role in students' lives – in how they see themselves, and what they aspire to become. With this privilege comes the immense responsibility that teachers truly have the capacity and opportunity to bring either hope and self-belief, or disinterest and despondency.
“Teaching, therefore, has to be accompanied by love, compassion, respect and care. What I say matters, how I treat my students matters – because I will be remembered not only for what I teach, but for how I made my students feel about themselves. This cannot be taken lightly and it is a recognition which truly separates teaching from most other professions."
Prof Davids is as passionate about research as she is about teaching and regards the two pursuits as intertwined and mutually contingent.
Besides being honoured as a teacher, she also recently received the news that she was awarded a C2 rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF). A C2 rating is awarded to applicants who are regarded as established researchers.