Testimony: Making Ends Meet For a Teacher in Lockdown

 By Lugya Richard Kibuuka – ICT Teacher, Bishop’s SS Mukono

I have read through the thread and found today’s discussion very timely. Some critical questions have been asked of the teacher. Some very useful debate has happened. I benefitted a lot.


Challenge 1: How to make money using your teacher-skills during the lockdown.
We might have to explore other avenues within our profession (aside from classroom teaching) that can help us bring in a few coins. The easiest one is by using technology: internet, smartphones, voice calls, etc.

I’ve seen some people here selling stuff on e-platforms like the ITAU website and Shareability. That’s the way to go.

– I’ve been teaching children for a fee via Google’s Classroom, Zoom, WhatsApp and other platforms. This has it’s challenges given high data rates and poor network. But it’s well paying.
 I also use voice calls. For instance I have three parents paying me some ka_money to engage their children via mobile phone (voice calls). 40 minutes for 10,000/=. I use voice bundles to manage this type of engagement. The children already have notes. My job is to guide them into a deeper understanding of concepts, reviewing research, etc. I do this at least twice a week for each of the three students. That’s 30k x 3 days x 3 students. How will I fail to buy Kawunga for Junior?
– This is a short-term solution that members here can use to survive. Nebwoba ofunayo mutwalo. That’s a start.
– *How do you start? You could start by calling that parent that you already have rapport with. For instance if I called John’s mother it would probably go like this…
“Hello Maama John, this is Mr. Lugya, John’s ICT Teacher. How is he? Is he reading…
By the way, I called to inform you that we are running a voice call consultancy service for candidates. You only need to load a voice bundle of say 30 minutes then we can have a discussion with him. He can prepare questions to ask me and I’ll answer them. I could also help him understand problem areas…
Nze ompayo akawunga ka 5,000 then you buy a bundle of 40 minutes nga tutandika…”*

Challenge 2: How to make money using your OTHER skills. This is Long-term.
One of the biggest challenges teachers have faced in this lockdown period is that all their side-hustles are within the education sector. These may include:
– part timing in 2 or more schools,
– paid extra duties at school like prep, dining supervision,
– supply of goods to schools like food items,
– running canteens
– publishing subject material like textbooks, manuals, etc.
The lockdown meant that apart from the main job of teaching, even the side jobs cannot earn some teachers any money. Life without schools has then become very toxic. What then, can be done?

Solution: As a long-term solution, you may have to look beyond your sector for investment opportunities. Take risks outside the school system. This may reduce the man-hours spent on the part-timing but may open doors for you that can’t be easily closed even in the case of COVID.

For instance, in my case:
Facebook Music Business
My other avenue of getting some ka_littro money is through music. I am extremely knowledgeable in the area old music (or ‘oldies’ as they are often called). In my youthful years, I learnt the art of DJying. I even played at events and nightclubs until I could not sustain it, given the conflicting loyalties with my teaching profession.

Old habits die hard. I found that even without events and nightclubs, I could still benefit. I had the music, the knowledge and the DJ skills. All I needed was a platform to showcase my talent in the hope of finding business opportunity.

This is when the idea of sharing music via social media came to mind. I started by sharing for free via Facebook and WhatsApp. People liked it. They asked for more. A few came to my inbox to make requests. I would charge a small fee. And as the clientele grew, the business grew too.
I charge Shs.30,000 for an hour-long mix of oldies, Shs.20,000 for 30 minutes. Remember, people who like oldies often have the ability to pay handsomely, if they like your selection and mixing.

In these COVID times, I have been sharing a free mix every 2 or 3 days. This through my Facebook page, facegroup groups and the many oldskool music groups that I belong to on WhatsApp. My network of friends, acquaintances & clientele has grown immensely as a result.

I have no regret. I get tipped by people who do not even know me physically.
“Musomesa what’s your MM number? Kankugulireyo ka bucket kubanga onkoledde olunaku”, they would say.

This music business has kept me afloat on days when the zoom lessons have not earned me anything.

What else, apart from teaching, is in your skill-set? How have you used it to earn some ka_money in these COVID times? How can you use it, going forward?

Some people with means, are in their gardens/farms. Gwe oli ku ki?