Embracing a Pandemic

Contributed by Adrie Schoeman, MD of Master Maths, a member of ADESSA.

Master Maths has been around for more than 40 years. After so many years in business, with franchise centres in nearly every town in South Africa and some in Namibia, we have a solid rhythm. Our structures and processes are in place.  However, when that announcement came that our country (like the rest of the world) will go into a hard lock down, the uncertainty kicked in and the fear was real. This pandemic did not choose it’s victims, we were all (small and large businesses) in the same boat. None of us could ever have foreseen a scenario where a pandemic just changed our normal day into something really surreal. 

We had to trust our investment made into solid systems and it stood the test of time. Master Maths has invested substantially in developing a new LMS system, which we were in the process of rolling out. The pandemic forced us to fast track this and with good support and collaboration tools, the pace at which franchisees adapted to the new technology, ensured that we could proceed with our business in a new “normal” manner. Our learners could use our platform and with some additional applications, were able to continue their learning path. Parents had the knowledge that the monitoring and support from the franchise centre was there. Online learning became the new “normal” and we will never be able to thank our clients for their support and trust during this year!

But more than anything else, I saw grit in action!  Grit means courage, a show of strength of character, a never give up attitude, a true commitment… not a word you hear often, but one I now, know the meaning of and experienced first-hand. Not only amongst colleagues and franchisees, but also amongst our learners, parents and every schoolteacher.  Being involved in education we all had one goal – support learners as best we can.

I was asked to write about Master Maths’ experience of this pandemic.

This is a story of a learner’s experience, shared with me … it is but one, but a similar story was told by every franchisee I spoke to.

“Today was my first session back at the centre since lockdown. When I arrived at the centre, it felt weird and strange and honestly I was totally freaked out. Thank goodness for my mask, although I hate the thing! I was greeted by a “please wait before entering” sign at the door. There was someone coming towards me, her eyes looked vaguely familiar, but I didn’t recognize her immediately, until I heard her… hallo how are you, welcome back…of course…did she put one some weight and look at the hair…  It is sanitizing, temperature measures, cleaning shoes and questionnaires, but then I was seated and a familiar feeling of being back at the centre started kicking in.  I missed seeing my tutor…. online is ok, but not the same.”

The question most asked and written about in the media – is teaching going to change to virtual teaching in future? At Master Maths we embrace technology. It is a fantastic tool, but online tutoring only, will never be able to replace the experience of being able to see and interact with a tutor/teacher. We are happy to see us slowly getting back to business as normal!

3 thoughts on “Embracing a Pandemic”

  1. Being in the education industry, we find ourselves always looking for ways to improve, to solve problems and therefore, I believe, we have a very positive outlook on matters. This pandemic has negatively impacted so many industries and individuals. It is important for us to look at the positives as well, however.
    Part of our goal at Master Maths is to instil in our learners a sense of independence when sitting down to their studies. We provide them with the tools to understand the subject and show them how to reinforce these principles, but it is every learner’s individual responsibility to put in the work when at home. I have seen many learners embrace this responsibility during the hard lock down and they are reaping the rewards of their efforts. It was the combination of efforts from their teachers and their access to additional support from our online and remote tutors which guided these learners to thriving with the new learning methods.
    Welcoming the learners back to the centre was a wonderful experience. We saw boys and girls who grew a head taller in the months we did not see them, but all of them were thrilled to be back in the centre. Here they felt the usual comfort and encouragement, and could more easily interact with their tutor. I fully agree with Adrie; as wonderful as our LMS is, nothing will ever replace the personal attention a learner receives when they are in the centre. Many learners do not always realise they are making a mistake and if they were not in the centre, this error would not have been picked up.
    Master Maths Strand

  2. Master Maths has given every learner an opportunity to have support and access to this wonderful system. It really carried learner’s through a vey difficult time. Well done Master Maths/Science! Embracing and leading into the future.

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