TEACHING… A WAY OF LIFE
*Caption: Damon Shaw with his family (picture taken off Facebook)
Written by: Siphokazi Mtshali
“Blessed is the hand that gives than the one that receives,” said a God-fearing Damon Shaw.
While chatting to Journalismiziko, Shaw had a moment of silence before sharing how happy being part of an underprivileged community made him feel, as the white community is still regarded as racist by some.
Shaw was born on the 1st of January 1976 in Estcourt. He matriculated from Estcourt High in the year 1994 and enrolled to study teaching at the Durban College of Education, before completing a four year diploma in teaching. His first post was at Port Shepstone Senior Primary School.
Leadership skills are something Shaw appears to have been born with.
“I was the Grade Leader for grade 7 and the hostel Superintendent for Ryder House Hostel,” he said.
Shaw resides in Estcourt with his wife Sally Shaw, a head of department at an under-resourced public school, and two bouncing boys Cameron and Warren Shaw.
He got married in the year 2007 and left teaching in December of the very same year, to take up a senior management position at Ultra City.
The community of Shiyabazali, and the nearby areas in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, give gratitude to Shaw, the headmaster at Thembelihle Primary School. He is a well-known person in the community, for efficiently running the school and not only focusing on educating, but also engaging in matters concerning the community.
During the interview, one of the pupils from the school came into the office to remind Shaw about the assembly. That is when he took his bible and we went to the chapel.
He mentioned that he starts his days with prayer because it is something that he was taught as a child.
“We are a strong Christian family who believes that God is fully in control of our lives and our destinies,” he said.
Damon Shaw resigned from his career in business where he worked as a senior manager for Keruco Foods CC (Ultra City). This was after the management was informed that the company was going to be sold in 2014.
He then decided to return to his teaching career which started in 1999 before being offered a position as the headmaster at Thembelihle primary.
Thembelihle Primary is an independent school that caters for young children from disadvantaged backgrounds, most of whom come from the informal settlements. Many of them are orphans and live with their grandparents who survive on an old age pension and struggle to make ends meet.
Shaw said that teaching has always been his passion.
“I decided to return to teaching in 2014, and was delighted to be offered the position of principal at this school, starting 2015. I am very blessed to be a part of the family and look forward to a long association with the school,” he said.
Shaw and his team deal with a lot of cases, which include child molestation and negligence from parents. One of the cases he has had to deal with is that of a 10 year old child who was molested by her father. He worked with the social workers and police to bring the culprit to justice. For him, teaching is not only about educating children, but to also support and care for them.
A grade three educator at the school, Cebisile Shabalala, lightened up as she spoke about Shaw saying how he encouraged her to continue with her studies at UNISA.
“Mr Shaw is open, friendly and can relate well with people. He knows his work and we are very happy with him. He has become a father to every child in the school,” said Shabalala.
The school has a feeding scheme and provides lunch on Saturdays for all the children in the community. On Mandela day he and his team from the Angel’s care built a new shack for an underprivileged family with a disabled child, who experienced great difficulty reaching the school. The Angel’s care team also donated blankets and food parcels to the family.
The family members were very welcoming and expressed their words of appreciation to Shaw and Angel’s care. They shed tears of joy upon seeing their new home.
“We are very lucky to have Mr Shaw in the community. May God bless him and his family,” said one of family members.
His mission for the school is to expand in 2017/18 and offering the same quality education to more learners.
“We understand the need for a school like Thembelihle and would like to support more needy families in our community,” concluded Shaw.