When he enrolled for Senior Five at MM College, Wairaka in 2004, the director of studies dictated on what subject combination Enock Mbuubi was to take on. Although Mbuubi was passionate about studying Arts, he was tasked to study Mathematics, Economics, Physics, and Fine Art.
This move was to later be a backbone to his passion of giving career guidance to students. The soft spoken Mbuubi is a now a teacher who emphasises the need to allow students choose what they love to study. “I did not have the chance to pursue what I originally wanted, but rather what was dictated upon me. I lacked the independence. This is why I am advocating independence in making choices despite the challenges in the current education system,” he asserts.
The 31-year-old teacher is driven by that passion and although sometimes some of his students are limited by their abilities, he is there to guide them to achieve the best.
“There are cases where parents force children to study Sciences leading to dismal performance in exams,” Mbuubi notes.
Death of a dream
Mbuubi desired to be either a medical doctor or an engineer and was hoping he would study Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics at A-Level. But the subject combination he studied shattered this dream.
“I was not given a chance to share the career I had in mind. Even while I was filling the JAB forms, the same director dictated on the course I filled although I wanted to apply for engineering and further assured me he would not forward my form if I did not apply for Education.”
When the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education were released in 2006, Mbuubi had scored 21 points, emerging the best student at the school. With this, he was admitted for a Bachelor’s in Education at Makerere University on government sponsorship.
He specialised in Mathematics and Physics but majored in Mathematics. And despite the choice he was forced to make, Mbuubi made good with education and vowed to spend his time helping students follow their passion down the education journey.
“At university, my friends and I would meet to discuss and find solutions for various things and giving students the power to make their own subject choices was one of them. We realised that a parent or teacher should only give guidance,” he says.
In fact, through these interactions Mbuubi realised that many of his colleagues were studying Education not by choice but because they were pushed into it.
Start of a career
Ten years ago, Mbuubi started his teaching career at St Julian High School, Gayaza during teaching practice. By this time his attitude towards the course had changed. And so when he started teaching practice, his behaviour and knowledge of the subjects endeared him to students but most importantly to the administration. This earned him a job at the school.
From 2011 to December 2016, a time shorter than what most teachers spend, Mbuubi had grown through the ranks. First he was a class teacher then deputy head of academics department, head of academics department and later director of studies.
Despite this remarkable success at St Julian, he left for Makerere High School, Migadde where he is currently the director of studies a position he has held since joining 2017. In addition to these duties, Mbuubi teaches Mathematics and Physics at both O and A-Levels at the school. But he never gave up on his acquired passion. He has been giving free career guidance to students since his days at St Julian.
He believes these lessons are mostly beneficial to A-Level students and takes off some minutes during lesson breaks as per the timetable to guide these students. “I have real talks with them because being passionate about something and the ability to do it are different. It is through this that many have achieved their dreams.”
But to execute a busy schedule such as his takes good time management. Mbuubi is an early riser! He wakes up at 3am every weekday and says a prayer before heading to office at 4am to prepare his lesson plan as well as attend to pending office work.
When he is not in class teaching, he is conducting a career session or counselling students who are experiencing social issues within or outside school. “Some parents have broken relationships with their children and I have found myself bridging the gap. I sit with the child and the parent to resolve issues along with other members of the family sometimes,” he says.
Mbuubi is happy that most of the students he has mentored have successful careers. In fact most call and send messages of appreciation to him.
“It is okay if I do not get any penny from the guidance I offer but my students show that they appreciate my work. I have found notes under my office door from students and that alone puts a smile on my face and gives me the zeal to continue,” he happily reveals before adding that:
“Some parents have on several occasions given me tips as way of appreciation.”
But his guidance is not limited, he goes an extra mile to even search for available scholarships at different universities for his students. For instance, he helped one of his students, Emmanuel Naturinda get a scholarship at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.
But it has not been all rosy for Mbuubi. He admits that stubborn students thwart his efforts when they do not respond positively to his guidance.
And the misunderstandings he has had with his fellow teachers especially when he challenges the advice they give students as well as parents also make his efforts pointless. But he never allows these to water down his efforts.
He is determined to keep moving, a reason he reads a lot of career-related works which keep him updated. Mbuubi is now looking forward to partnering with career teachers from other schools so that they can form a consultancy that can offer career training to teachers as well as extend the services to other schools that cannot afford to hire career experts.
And as he is doing all these, he is also advancing his studies. He is pursuing a Master’s in Financial Management at Uganda Management Institute. This comes after the Postgraduate Diploma he acquired from the same institution in 2010.
Enock Mbuubi started his education from Banda Primary School in Kasawo, Mukono District and completed Primary Seven in 2000. He joined Ndeeba SS in Kayunga for Senior One. But because his father was a priest who would be transferred to different areas, he completed Senior Four in 2004 from Namakwa Secondary School in Katosi, Mukono District. For A-Level, Mbuubi joined MM College Wairaka in Jinja and later joined Makerere University for a Bachelor’s in Education.