Fundiswa, a passionate lifelong learner, has had 12 years of teaching experience in both her home country, South Africa, and Kuwait. However, she sought more opportunities to enhance her teaching skills. Drawn by the positive work culture at CfBT, she was intrigued when she saw an opportunity to move to Brunei. Her application was successful, and she relocated to Brunei in January 2023.
Adapting to life in Brunei was smooth for Fundiswa and she credited the well-resourced welfare department for their support in helping her navigate her new surroundings. The induction programme also proved invaluable in helping her understand the cultural norms in Brunei.
Fundiswa’s experience in her new school has been enriching, despite her initial challenge of communicating with her students, as their first language is not English. Her previous teaching experience was limited to preparing her to teach the Cambridge syllabus for the first time, so she took the initiative to find ways to improve her skills to better serve her students.
“It has stretched me, but I am keen to acquire new knowledge that will make me a better teacher and Brunei has afforded me that opportunity. I appreciate the professional development opportunities as they have introduced me to new classroom strategies, such as Adaptive Strategies”
Several factors have facilitated Fundiswa’s rapid adaptation to teaching in Brunei. For instance, “learning walks” allow teachers to tour the school to observe local Bruneian teachers in action. Her colleague from CfBT, Amendhree Pillay, at the school, has also been instrumental in her success by sharing and recommending resources that have proven effective. Additionally, being an expat who doesn’t speak Malay encouraged her students to learn and use English in class, although she tried to learn basic Malay for practical purposes.
Furthermore, regular school visits from her Education Development Manager (EDM) and principal have heightened her awareness of meeting her objectives, making her work more measurable. Her EDM, Jennyfer Townsend, has been key in providing constructive feedback that has improved her teaching delivery and contributed to increased class engagement. Fundiswa also finds the Teacher Performance Appraisal (TPA) process to be a valuable tool to improve her craft, helping her identify any blind spots she might have missed. She encourages fellow teachers to seek support from others, emphasizing that asking for help does not diminish one’s experience.
Driven by her purpose to make an impact, Fundiswa is aware of the advancing role of technology in education and aspires to pursue a master’s degree in a related field.
“I love the flipped classroom model and blended learning. It incorporates technology as students use them at home anyway. I want learners to perceive learning as fun and interactive”
Nonetheless, Fundiswa believes that creating an effective classroom begins with establishing a routine. Being firm yet kind, reviewing previous lessons as a warm-up, and structuring different activities in a sequence within one lesson are some of the strategies that she employs to ensure class time is fully utilised.
Fundiswa also places importance on being open to learning from her students by seeking feedback to understand how they learn best. During her probation period, she has been proud to witness her students growing more comfortable using English in class.
“I always tell my students that this is a space to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes; we are all here to learn, right?”
Fundiswa strives for excellence, a value she holds dear. Her involvement in the Learning Study and collaboration with other schools, something she had never done before in her career, has shown her the importance of working together and can yield positive results.
When asked about the source of her drive to continuously learn, she shared,
“I’ve been in classrooms where teaching is happening, but learning is not taking place.”
Fundiswa truly embodies the essence of a lifelong learner, and her commitment to learning has allowed her to excel and grow. This learning culture was instilled in her by her mother, and even her name, which means “the learned one,” reflects her dedication to education.
To find out more how you can apply as an English teacher in Brunei, visit –> careers.cfbt.org