October

Honorary Education Degree Interview: Harry Mungala

Harry Mungala talks about his education at Bath Spa University and his journey to becoming a teacher.

I became a teacher mostly because my mother thought I was patient and passionate about explaining and clarifying concepts in my discussions with my siblings and parents (though all I recall is that I liked to debate and never took no for an answer). When it was time to go to college she literally made all the arrangements for me, and well, here we are!

"What I enjoy most about teaching is sharing content and knowledge. It's exciting to see the actual transformation of the learners moving from not knowing to knowing new concepts. It’s also fulfilling to experience the teaching and learning process that learners undergo, and the change of attitudes and values among others gave me a lot of satisfaction."

I came to Bath Spa to do my MA International Education because I really wanted to experience the British education system, as the foundation of our education system in Zambia is cut from the same cloth. Apart from that, studying in the UK is a rare and prestigious opportunity one can be afforded in their life, so the Hall-Mufulira scholarship was an opportunity I cherished and grabbed with both hands.

I was skeptical at first when I arrived. Racism would not be in short supply in my mind, but I was relieved to not have experienced any at all. Luckily most of the people I mingled with were tolerant and very accommodating. The lecturers were all helpful and very patient, and gave us time to make our transition from the African to European environment. What I enjoyed the most was the availability of teaching and learning resources. Online teaching and learning is one thing I learned a lot about, and has been particularly relevant and helpful especially in the Covid-19 era, where most teaching and learning has been conducted online. Timely indeed!

Teacher training in Zambia is obviously not at the same level as the UK and other developed countries, and there are issues with access to new teaching and learning strategies. Online teaching and learning has been a challenge as most of the population do not have access to basic needs, so access to the internet and its accessories is very uncommon. Computer illiteracy is a major hindrance to achieving online education and Wi-Fi and internet access is still very expensive for an average citizen to afford. While the objectives and targets are similar, the actual teaching and learning process is very different.

I think the biggest challenge around teaching mainly has to do with the way teaching is viewed in my country. In Zambia, most people associate teaching with poverty because it’s not a well paying job, so teachers do not get the respect due to them when compared to other careers like medicine, law or engineering. Unfortunately, teachers here often experience and have to deal with issues of low self esteem. If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I’d tell myself to study law, engineering, or medicine as that’s where the money is (just kidding)!

"To anyone who is thinking about becoming a teacher, I would say to them that it’s a noble profession. You will become rich - not with money, but with the satisfaction that you have made a positive impact on individuals’ perceptions."

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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