The migration experience and cross-cultural adjustment of migrant Zimbabwean teachers in eThekwini municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.
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There is paucity of research unpacking South Africa (SA) as a receiving country for migrant teachers and how they have adjusted to the new work environment (Manik, 2011b). This necessitates research into this area. The main aim of the study was to document migration and work experiences of migrant Zimbabwean teachers in the eThekwini Municipality and to ascertain whether they are adjusting to their teaching craft in SA. The research also sought to find out the opportunities and challenges they encountered in their craft in eThekwini. The information gained in this study, it is hoped, will shed light on how current policies and working environment is viewed by migrant Zimbabwean teachers. The data was drawn from a qualitative study that used face-to-face interviews and telephonic interviews. Snowball sampling was used for sampling since the target population was somewhat hidden or hard to reach ,the sample size consisted of fifteen Zimbabwean teachers and ‘thematic analysis was used to analyse data (Clarke and Braun, 2013; Vaismoradi, Turunen, & Bondas, 2013). The findings indicated that the majority of the migrant Zimbabwean teachers moved to SA during the peak of economic crisis in Zimbabwe. The push factors for migration were economic instability, political instability and unfavourable living conditions (Gebre 2007; Stanojoska and Petrevski, 2015). Zimbabwean teachers attested that they were not able to meet the basic requirements for their families hence they decided to move to SA. The challenges encountered by Zimbabwean migrant teachers included unfriendly colleagues, ill-disciplined learners, difficulties in acquiring and renewal of permits, lack of job security, unfamiliar teaching environment, lack of induction, difficulties in communication, and expensive accommodation. They cited educational advancement as an opportunity since most of them were continuing with their education and working at the same time. Ill-disciplined learners and difficulties in communication not only affect the work performance of migrant teachers but also hamper the progress of learners. Some seemingly xenophobic attitudes prevalent in the work place manifest in the non-acceptance of English as a medium of communication among most stakeholders in the school community that include; colleagues, parents, support staff and learners. This hinders communication and deters migrant teachers from performing their job optimally. This research concluded that more research on strategies that improve the adjustment of migrant teachers to the new working environment is needed. Possible strategies may include introduction of induction programs in schools for both migrant teachers and local stakeholders and the offering of Zulu lessons.