Kirshia Govender is a teacher at the Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Education Centre. Along with her colleagues, she is at the forefront of marine science education in Cape Town.
I first discovered the Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Education Centre in 2008, when I completed the volunteer course while studying marine biology and oceanography at the University of Cape Town. I was so impressed with the content I received from the teaching staff, as the information was in line with my studies, and it was an experience I will never forget!
The volunteer course is fantastic as it introduces participants to ideas and information that not everyone is lucky enough to study. And the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is the perfect learning environment, with loads of hands-on experiential learning. This is marine science education at its best.
I just couldn’t stay away from the Aquarium. I was on and off with my volunteering because I was spending some time studying outside of the Western Cape, but I always found myself back at the Aquarium. I continued my studies, embarking on a degree in Science Education for high school learners. I wondered what the ideal position, relating to my background in marine biology, would be. The Environmental Education Centre was the obvious answer!
So I was very fortunate to be offered a teaching position as an Aquarium Teacher, contributing to marine science education in Cape Town, and I was over the moon to take up this amazing position. I now have my own Discovery Centre with super-cool desk aquaria for the students.
Being a teacher, teaching a variety of students about marine science, and actually having the animals on the table for the students to engage and learn with on a whole new level, is fantastic! The various animals in the classroom - sharks, starfish, anemones, seahorses - are superb ambassadors for their kind, and we are helping these animals get their message out to the public.
I especially love teaching about shark conservation and to have a baby shyshark in front of the students is such treat. These gentle, misunderstood animals are feared by humans, but during my lessons I address the key question: “Who should be afraid of whom?” The animals in the Environmental Education Centre are released at the end of the school year. An important job well done by these amazing ambassadors.
I am so blessed to be an Aquarium teacher for the Two Oceans Aquarium and am loving every minute of it!