Despite being a school head, Lucy Rebecca Akello will not hesitate to go to class and teach. After more than 20 years of teaching, she says, she does not see any other profession that would give her an equal amount of satisfaction.
Lucy Rebecca Akello is the headmistress of Byeyale Public Primary School in Kiryandongo District. The 48-year-old headmistress is also the Primary Seven teacher of English at the school. At 7am, she is already at school in order to prepare for her lessons which start at 8am.
“I make it a point to be in class at the right time. I usually tell my students to pick me from office just in case I delay,” she explains.
Though many heads of institutions mostly concentrate on administration and less on classroom work, Akello says she derives a lot of satisfaction from teaching. She explains that through her interactions with students, she has learnt to associate with people from different walks of life and to her, this is a blessing.
Born to Jerom Odongogwa and Lilian Rose Achipa in 1970, Akello is the second born of 10 siblings. Her father was a teacher trainer at Bulindi in-service Teacher Training School and she recalls that revision was a must for all of them at home.
“It was a must to have our supper by 7:30pm after that, it was strictly revision that would be supervised by my father. This helped better our performance in school,” she recalls.
Start of journey
However, since they were many children, money was never enough at their home the reason she opted to study teaching after O-Level with the knowledge that she could upgrade her studies with time.
“Though my dream profession was being a lawyer, it was not possible for my father to sponsor my university education. I thus joined Kamurasi Primary Teachers College in 1992,” she explains.
In 1997, Akello joined Kabalega National Teacher’s College for a Diploma in Education where she was until 2000. As she was pursuing her education, she started teaching at Kihanda Moslem Primary School.
When she joined the teaching profession, she says, her aim was to be a team player as well as leave a legacy in the schools she teaches.
Akello the leader
In 2009, Akello enrolled for a Bachelors in Education at Ndejje University which she completed in 2012.
After the degree, she was appointed the deputy head teacher of Kigumba Church of Uganda Primary School, where her journey of leadership started.
She has been head teacher of Bweyale Public Primary school for three years. She says her role has not been so easy because the school accommodates both refugees and pupils from host communities.
Akello adds that most of these pupils are depressed which makes it hard for them to fit in the community. She is, however, quick to say she always organises counselling sessions for these children which has helped them to adopt well to the society.
“Some of these children are depressed whereas others are hostile because of the tragic experiences they go through but I always encourage the host pupils not to segregate them. I also encourage these refugees to contest for leadership positions at school so as to uplift their confidence and make them feel important,” she explains.
Akello attributes her success to being a team player and always being eager to work regardless of the workload.
“I do not like relaxing and directing my subordinates. I have never at any time considered myself as a head, I always get involved in any type of work be it counselling of pupils, or preparing for an activity at school, or class work because it is through teamwork that we can achieve great results,” she says.
Akello advises those joining the teaching profession not to take teaching for granted.
“I know many teachers join the profession as a last resort, but you can achieve all your dreams through education, all you have to do is set your goals and work towards achieving them,” she advises.
She says through education, she has been able to pay school fees for her three children with her last born being at university.
“My husband unfortunately passed on in 1997 when my children were still young and in school but I have been able to educate them single handedly with the help of my job,” she says.