On many occasions, teachers consider themselves disadvantaged; some even openly tell their students that they are paid less and that they are living miserable lives. However, should this be reason for them to look down on themselves?
Stephen Sserubula the Deputy Head Teacher in charge of academics Lugazi Mixed School Naalya says, low payment should not make teachers consider themselves inferior. To him, students need an inspirational figure and that should be none other than their teachers.
“You are a role model to the students you are teaching and thus, you need to be positive while dealing with them. Let them feel encouraged each time they interact with you,” he says.
Born to Yakobo Kinalwa and Frida Nakabugo, in Lugasa Ngogwe Buikwe district, Sserubula is the fourth out of seven children.
Sserubula prides in being a teacher. He says because of the profession, he has been able to influence a number of people’s lives positively which to him is a big achievement.
He believes teachers should command a lot of respect from the society but he is quick to point out that respect should start with teachers themselves.
“First respect your selves such that the society will respect you as well. It is true we are poorly paid but it should not be something we are fronting all the time,” he advises.
Sserubula sat for his Primary Leaving Examinations at Kikakanya Primary School in Buikwe, and much as this was a village school, he is happy he still managed to get a first grade.
He continued emulating his first grade heroics in his ordinary level examinations at Bishop Nkoyoyo Matale.
He attributes his excellent performance to his uncle Professor John Sabastian Mugerwa who was lecturing at Makerere University at one time.
His uncle used to host him at the university during his holidays. The visit to the university also came with a tour of the school which altogether encouraged him to study hard and become successful.
“I used to see influential people while in my uncle’s office and I promised myself to study hard and be like those people in future,” Sserubula says.
In 1999, he joined Naalya Senior Secondary School Namugongo for his advanced level. He recalls joining a term after the rest of the students had started but this did not stop him from competing favorably.
He says with much determination and concentration he emerged the best student in his class in UACE exams obtaining 23 points which helped him to get an admission for Bachelors in Education at Makerere University on government sponsorship.
Since he loves what he is doing, he started teaching before the he could even enroll at the university; he got a job at Namilyango Senior Secondary School while he was still in his senior six vacation and they retained him up to when he completed his degree.
He recalls being booed by students but was never discouraged. Sserubula later learnt that the students were laughing at his size which he says inspired him to teach them well such that he could win their acceptance. He says within a month, the students had started trusting him and before he could imagine, he was among the best performing teachers in the school.
“I was small and short and I was replacing a teacher who was tall and masculine, so when I first entered the Senior Six classroom, the students looked at me and burst out in wild laughter,” he recalls.
He says he was able to achieve this by sparing time to explain to students that would not grasp the concepts in class and was always willing to spare all his free time discussing to students.
His hard work paid off as he was appointed Acting Deputy Head Teacher in charge of academics even before he would graduate.
In 2005, after graduating, much as he had opted to continue working at Namilyango secondary school, administrators at his former school (Naalya SS, Namugongo) requested him to come and assist students with History.
Sserubula had an attachment with his former school and always wished them well, it is that background that made their call a hard one to ignore. In 2006, he started teaching at Naalya secondary School, Namugongo as a classroom teacher who was later elevated to a Deputy Head teacher up to 2009.
In 2010, he was transferred to Lugazi Mixed School Naalya a branch of Naalya SS Naumugongo but in Buikwe district where he has been up to date.
Currently, the teacher and administrator says that his main aim is seeing students excel. Much as he loves socializing with the students and making them feel comfortable at school but he also hates mediocrity.
“I do not hesitate punishing a student that misbehaves and forgets the reason why he is at school,” he says.
Sserubula’s advice to teachers is to love their profession and display a good image both at school and in the public. He also cautions teachers against cheating exams for the students. “Teach the students and leave them to do exams by themselves, this will help them to get genuine grades,” he advises.