When I finished school, I was not planning to become a teacher. I planned to be a store manager. I was 19 years old and living in Kampala and I was offered a job managing a store in the city centre. Then the Government took over power. Because the war they had been fighting had been a kind of tribal war, when they took office they said, “The Acholi and Lango people have eaten enough, they have to leave”. We were forced to leave Kampala and leave our jobs.
But when I was a store manager, I had also been teaching people. I had taught our workers because I wanted them to be educated. So when the Government forced us to leave, I returned to my hometown of Gulu and I started teaching Grade 1 of primary school. I found the children were doing so well. This inspired me to leave store management for good. I enrolled at a Primary Teacher Training College and trained as a Grade 3 Teacher. I taught for very many years. I even taught Richard, African Revival’s Education Programme Coordinator!
My motivation to become a teacher had always been to solve problems. Over the years I found the primary school children I taught were performing very well, and I began wondering whether the problem was in secondary school. So I enrolled again in Secondary Teacher Training College and gained my Diploma. I was posted to secondary schools where I taught for six or seven years. But I found the students at secondary school were not performing well. I thought the problem might be in the Teacher Training Colleges, because the teachers who were teaching in secondary school were not well trained. So I went to Christ the King Teacher Training College and I became a tutor there [someone who trains teachers]. It was there I finally realised the problem was in primary, the foundation.
When I went for an interview as a primary school teacher again, they asked me so many questions. They wanted to know why I went from primary to secondary to Teacher Training College and now back to primary. I told them, “My issue is not money. My task is to educate people so they have the potential to change the world. Primary education is the foundation. I want to go to the base of the problem”. After the interview, they offered me a role as Deputy Head Teacher.
I’m motivated to be a teacher because I believe our society is not as it should be. The best way to create a society where people are happy is through education. When you educate a child, they grow into a useful human being who handles things the right way. When you teach people, they are able to make a positive change and to achieve. That’s why I decided to become a teacher.
My one piece of advice would be to practise teamwork. Here at the school, we cooperate, we correct ourselves when we go wrong, we apologise, we have one objective, and we follow one strategy. We talk one language: teamwork. However big the challenge, when you do things as a team it become small.