The joy of teaching

Mereoni Wesivalu at Vunidawa Sanatan Primary School this week. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

A woman, who considers herself lucky, Mereoni Wesivalu continues to count her blessing of being a teacher in the remote parts of Vunidawa in Naitasiri.

After 21 years of teaching in the province of Naitasiri, Mrs Wesivalu knows what it’s like to teach children in remote places and tries to understand the challenges students go through daily when they arrive in school. Hailing from Nasaibitu Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu, Mrs Wesivalu is familiar with rural living and is passionate about the work she does.

“For 21 years, I’ve taught Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, and Year 4 students. To serve in rural communities you have to have patience and be committed to the calling.

“Working in the rural communities isn’t new to me because I was brought up in a rural community.”

She said when she was in high school she strongly wanted to be a nurse.

“It was when I was in Form Five that things changed and God also had a different calling for me compared to what I wanted. Now I’m passionate about my career and I enjoy the work completely.”

She said her first posting as a teacher was to Lutu District School in Wainibuka where she quickly learned to adjust to her new role in the school.

“I taught at Lutu District for five years and later spent five years at Lomaivuna Settlement Primary School,” she said.

“It was in 2012 that I was transferred here to Vunidawa Sanatan Primary School.”

Being the first to take up a teaching career in her family where she has to lead by example.

“I’m the second eldest of seven siblings and the only one in this profession,” she said.

“I have three children and I have a very supportive husband who farms for a living.”

She said she and her husband have been married for 19 years.

“I’m grateful to my husband and I thank God for his life,” she said.

“My colleagues know of how supportive my husband is because most of my time is spent at school and when I return home food is always ready, our clothes are washed and our house is always kept clean.

“I consider myself very lucky to be married to him. Not only does he take care of the farm he also takes time to look after us at home when I’m at work.”

She said if people especially young people wanted to teach they needed to become passionate about teaching children.

“You have to have patience in order to be a teacher and learn to communicate well with students and try to understand what they go through daily,” she said.

“We as teachers help mould these students to be better individuals.”

Mrs Wesivalu now looks after 41 students in her class and she always looks forward to meeting them daily at school.

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