Exploring young women's experiences of teenage motherhood in schools : a gendered perspective.
Mcambi, Sithembile Judith.
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A qualitative study was conducted at Oakleigh Girls High School which aimed at exploring the ways in which seven teenage girls from a single-sex, predominantly middle-class state school negotiate the demands of schooling and parenting. Drawing upon the findings of the focus group interviews conducted, the study aimed to illuminate how these teenage mothers juggle their varied roles as mothers and learners and its effects for the educational outcome of young mothers at school. In this study I argue that even though the South African Schools Act (Department of Education 1996) regulates the support of pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers in schools, however teenage mothers still experience difficulties in schools. These difficulties range from fear of the parents’ response, child fathers’ response, as well as teachers’ response, rejection from peers and teachers, ridicule from teachers and peers, lack of support from teachers, decline in academic performance as well as the inability to participate in school activities. However in the same study there were positive elements that also surfaced, in that some teachers, learners as well as a support group provided some kind of support to the teenage mothers even though it was very minimal. Working with teachers to support young mothers at school remains important.