Introducing Benard, new Headteacher at WTA
Elspeth Dugdale | November 4, 2017
This month, we interview the new Headteacher Ssemwogerere Benard, appointed to WTA by Director Charles at the beginning of this term:
SD: Firstly, many congratulations on your new appointment to be Headteacher at WTA! Is this your first time working at the school?
HM: No, it’s not my first time. Actually I joined WTA in 2009, when it was still at the old site as a part-time teacher. In 2012 I then became a full-time teacher, but I left to work at a different school in early 2016. Now in 2017, I am Headteacher of WTA.
SD: How long have you been a teacher? What made you want to become a teacher in the first place? And what subjects do you/did you teach?
HM: I have been a professional teacher since 2008. I was inspired to become a teacher by my uncle, who I used to live with. He was the headteacher of a primary school and he used to be very smart and was always respected by all our neighbours and society at large. I am a teacher of History and Luganda language at both O’ and A’ level.
Master Bernard when he was previously teaching in 2012
SD: What do you think makes WTA different from other schools in Uganda?
HM: WTA offers some kind of holistic education, and is not just academic oriented. We train students in computer skills, music, dance and drama, sports and religious morals etc. That is what makes us different. The school is not so profit orientated. It helps economically disadvantaged students to have a chance to acquire education. We keep our students in a very friendly environment; we don’t administer corporal punishment but we emphasise discipline and a peaceful co-existence.
SD: How has the school changed since you first met the Director?
HM: Many things - We used to rent but now have our own premises. We have a well equipped library, computer laboratory and science laboratories. We have attracted more students and have improved accommodation facilities.Teachers’ salaries have increased. Students are more disciplined, however we are not yet at the level we want them to be. Food provision is now good.
SD: What are the challenges facing the school at the moment?
HM: Well, the performance of exam candidates is still very low. The discipline of some students – especially candidate classes does not match with some of our standards. Some part-time teachers do not have enough time to get involved with other school activities, aside from their teaching time. Students do not have a dining hall and so they eat scattered all around the school compound. We need to have a proper school uniform all from the same source, so that the design and colour is exactly the same.
SD: What would be your best advice to new teachers starting to work with you at WTA?
HM: To have the school at heart, serve with a spirit of togetherness, concentrate more on producing good results and improving student discipline – then their own welfare may come later. We also need teachers who can give WTA enough time and make our school as a priority and not their second choice.
SD: Do you want to bring any specific changes/developments in the next academic year?
HM: Definitely YES. Starting from the teachers who are not yet committed to their work here. Also I may make some other adjustments in the system of doing work at WTA, but I am not going to specify these yet without approval.
SD: How do you see the partnership between SD and WTA?
HM: It’s a perfect partnership which has greatly helped WTA to move to another level, considering the way ServeDirect met up with WTA. This partnership has helped the school to have the infrastructure it has; it would have been difficult for WTA to get on by itself. It has also helped WTA to design a better method of handling learners through the continuous ServeDirect seminars and training. The partnership has indeed made the school to be unique.
SD: And lastly a personal question…. Where are you from in Uganda and do you have a family yourself?
HM: I am born of Kakira village, Kasanto sub-county, Mukono District. Unfortunately, both of my parents passed away; I have three brothers and three sisters. Also I have a wife and two children: a girl of 9 years and a boy of 5 months.
SD: Thank you very much for taking part. We wish you every success for the rest of this examination term and for all your plans for 2018.
HM: Thanks ServeDirect.