A teacher against part timing

By Dorcus Murungi

Part-timing is a common practice among many secondary School teachers where one can teach in as many schools as possible so as to supplement their income.

However, Henry Ssali Ssentongo, the head teacher St Johns Secondary School, Mukono, says it is a practice that teachers need to avoid.
To Ssentongo, the practice of part-timing leads to divided concentration among teachers which in the long run affects the quality of work.

“I also used to teach in a number of schools but I noticed I was not giving full attention to all my students. I believe that in order for teachers to perform effectively, they should not have a heavy workload which part-timing comes with,” he says.

Born to the late George Balaba Ssali and Betty Nankabirwa in Kabalungi, Lwengo in 1981, Ssentongo was inspired by his parents who were both teachers.

He says his father was once a principal at National Teacher’s College, Nkozi and his mother was a teacher at St Andrews Primary School, Kitega.
This background, he says, inspired him to join the profession without any coercion.

“My father was very committed to his work. Though he died when I was still young, I promised myself to follow into his footsteps when I grow old,” he says.

Ssentongo was educated mostly by his mother. He attended Bishop Dungu Primary School, Masaka for primary education and St Joseph’s Secondary School, Naggalama for secondary education.

During the course of his training in secondary, he says he was inspired by his Geography teacher J.B ogwang making him develop passion for Geography.

When he finally enrolled for a Diploma in Education at Nkozi National Teachers College, he majored in Geography and Economics.
Before he could complete his diploma, he started teaching at M.S Green Valley, Mpigi.

In 2008, Ssentongo enrolled for a Bachelors in Education degree at Kyambogo University which he completed in 2011. He got a job with Fisher Branch Kalagala where he got a chance to teach his first set of candidates. He recalls that with so much commitment and determination, the last candidate in his class scored a Pass Seven. “This was very encouraging because I noticed that when you give in your best, you undoubtedly achieve good results,” he notes.

New appointment
Ssentongo got a job at Pere Grand Maiso, Masaka where he not only concentrated in classwork but also started participating in administration. He recalls having started as a warden from where he was promoted to the director of studies and finally to a deputy head teacher.
In 2015, Ssentongo was appointed the head teacher of St Johns Secondary School, Mukono where he is serving to date.

In all this, he says he has not stopped being a classroom teacher that he has always been.

“I still teach eight lessons in a week. I teach Geography in Senior Six. I would rather wake up in the night and go for evening and morning preps so as to teach my students. I feel proud when my students pass highly,” he says.

He says he has been able to succeed in his work by following principles of hard work, determination and commitment.


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