Most of the times these 8 wishes cross my mind but to be honest it has taken me a while to have the courage to share with you the 8 things that i wish i knew before i joined the teaching profession in Uganda. These are my honest opinions which in any way aren’t intended to despise the profession.
A lot of my time is consumed by Teaching
Honestly being in a school setting takes almost your entire life i remember one day a friend asked me “Aaron, how long does it take for you to lesson plan and for this and for that?”. Just know it can take you the whole day in some occasions doing school related commitments so you have to set aside a schedule and also set aside some time because if you’re anything like me who gets involved in other ICT related gigs outside class some of which would require travelling, then you will find it inconveniencing balancing school and outside commitments.
Teachers are also actors (Emotion Control)
Being human, as a teacher there are so many things that happen in your life that happen in your class day but when you walk into the classroom you have to pretend as though nothing is going on it’s not like when you’re sitting at an office somewhere and if you just got into an argument with somebody or something bad happened, you can easily sit at your desk and try to deal with your emotions on your own.
In this profession, I can tell you things are different. Most times I have been angry or have gotten very sad news and yet I have to enter a class in the next 5 minutes and you have to go in and you have to act like nothing is wrong because you ought to be careful on your moods because if you enter the classroom with a bad mood, the entire classroom environment won’t be conducive for even the innocent students.
Respect is not given, its earned
Respect is not given it’s earned in this profession that’s one of the biggest things I wish someone would have told me that you don’t just walk into a classroom and demand authority, you need to prove to the students that you’re worthy of their time and so it’s not really something that is given, it’s earned.
Indeed you have to show them that you are worth listening to, paying attention to and that you know what you are doing. I have personally witnessed a teacher in my high school in 2015, she was teaching us ICT and there were times I would ask her for the meaning of an abbreviation and I wish you were there to see how she would be put out of place. Most times teachers walk into the class and they’re not knowledgeable about their content, I mean how can anyone respect you when you’re unfamiliar with what you’re supposed to be teaching?? so you really want to make sure you’re on it, know your information but again respect is not given it is earned at least in my experience with the students I have been teaching all this while.
Promotion is through High Academic Qualification, Discipline and hard work
Promotion is through high academic qualification, discipline and hard work .It doesn’t matter what an amazing teacher you are it doesn’t matter how many hours you put in unless you have a baseline of these or else plan quickly and go back to school so as you can attain the promotion that you may have desired.
I part time in a school where a colleague has been teaching for 14 years but has never got promotion even as a Head Of Department and its quite funny that his current Head Of Department came out of the University few years ago but because he has a higher Qualification then he stands to position himself. So in this case, this Diploma holder Teacher should go back to school so as to earn promotion in the future and even move to greater heights as a Deputy Head teacher or even the Head teacher.
I must save my materials in many locations
I know in this technological era most teaching materials are digitized but what i learnt is that its very safe to always keep the same things in many places such as cloud storage platforms, flash drives, hard disks, even printed copies.
Being a technology teacher i can tell you a bunch of stories of teachers i have helped in situations where they’ve lost all of their documents on their laptops and they didn’t have it backed up or saved anywhere. This comes with disadvantages like you failing to deliver a lesson on time because you lost all your materials, what will you use? Printed copies are however so vital in that they help your lesson continue even in the case of a power black out as it is predictive for power to go off in Uganda.
Always Expect the Unexpected
I have in most times heard of really ridiculous stories that fellow teachers would tell about things that would happen in their classrooms but you really don’t know until you become a teacher, instances like fights happening in your classroom, students giving you nick names possibly associated with an instance.
I have just learned that anything is a possibility and you have to expect the unexpected so you could be as prepared as possible and always to limit your disappointment. Oftentimes I didn’t expect the unexpected and so when a student would act out in a certain way or something would happen in my day it would really touch me but it was all because I never expected it and so I didn’t know how to deal with it I wasn’t prepared emotionally or even sometimes physically to deal with those situations and so for sure expect the unexpected so that if it comes to your mind it is possible.
Time management is a must in this Profession
The principle of time management applies in almost every act of life. In similarity as a Teacher, time management is a key. I personally struggle with punctuality as I have to be early each time I have a class, Infact I have to arrive 30minutes before the lesson in most cases and while on duty sometimes am needed as early as 6:00am, you can call it a bothering routine but that is what the profession demands if you are to finish the syllabus on time and deliver content effectively. So before choosing to join the profession, prepare to be an important time manager if you are to succeed.
You will read for your entire lifetime (Preparation)
Being a Teacher can be so stressing in that much as we give students notes to read, we are the ones who prepare them and so we often have to research and compile and read these content before handing over to students to copy, and this is something we perform on a daily basis for the rest of our life.
Having said all this, it is important to note that “Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty” as said by Albert Einstein. Teaching must not for any reason be under looked because it is a call but not a gain. Thank you.
Oruru Aaron Steven
Wambede Issa (Wataba)