If somebody met Ivan Mitara for the first time, they could easily guess his profession. He is smart, orderly and speaks purposefully just like most teachers. When I first met him, he was at St. Paul Catholic Parish in Mbalala, Mukono Town, where he was training the church choir.
Though it was already past 5pm, he still had his shirt well tucked in and his shoes were still shining. He says being smart is his trademark.
“Being smart and keeping my self neat is something I love doing. though it is unusual for men, I have made it my trademark,” he says.
Mitara, 37, is a teacher at Seeta High School Green Campus in Mukono. He teaches Economics, Principles of Accounts, Entrepreneurship, and Basics of Computer Studies.
Apart from teaching, Mitara is a renowned music trainer. He has been able to turn his passion for music into a side job. This, he says, has played a big role in supplementing the money he earns from teaching.
He was introduced to Music, Dance and Drama as soon as he started his education.
“When I joined Nyenga Boys Primary School in 1989, I found the school actively participating in Music Dance and Drama competitions. Also, every class was being taught music alongside other subjects. With the help of my teacher, Kasaija, I developed passion for music and I have never looked back,” he recalls.
In 1996 when he joined Nyenga Seminary for his O-Level, Mitara was lucky that the school was teaching and coaching music too.
He observes that he has trained school choirs for competitions, church choirs, especially those in catholic parishes for both competitions and church worship.
“I have trained St. Henry’s Gangu, St. Catherine Nabbingo, St. Andrew Kasala and many more others. I have also trained parishes such as Nyenga, Mukono and Kibiri, among others. Some of the choirs I trained have won competitions, including St Lucia Namagoma, St. Andrew Kasaala, St. Catherine Nabbingo and St. Henrys College Gangu,” he states. But Mitara admits that he did not dream of being a music or school teacher as a child. Instead he admired being a banker or businessman since his family was dominated by bankers and accountants.
“Most of my relatives worked in Uganda Commercial Bank then. My grandfather owned a bus company where my late father was the financial controller. Business was flourishing well in our family and I asked my relatives to tell me which subjects to concentrate on in order to become a successful banker just like them,” he recalls.
In 2002, Mitara was admitted to Kyambogo University and as fate would have it, he was not admitted for a business course but rather a Diploma in Education.
Despite the disappointment, he learnt to love the profession. Whenever you fail to get what you want, treasure that which you have got, acceptance will help you to succeed,” he says.
Mitara later on advanced in his studies by taking on a Bachelor of Education in Business at Makerere University in 2010. Currently, he is a postgraduate Diploma in Management student at Uganda Management Institute.
Asked on how he has managed to juggle the two jobs, Mitara says he has drawn a timetable that has helped him balance his work.
“I leave home at 6am and head to school. At 5pm, I switch from a classroom teacher to a music trainer,” he observes.