Life will not always provide us with oranges, sometimes, it will also give us lemons… This is what I have experienced throughout my career as a teacher. My name is Allan Chilongo from the Northern Region, Chitipa District Nthalire, and I was one of the primary teachers who graduated from Emmanuel teacher training college in 2010. We were the intake which occupied the new buildings of Emmanuel jn Lilongwe when the college was just shifting from Blantyre to Lilongwe.
After my graduation I went through a number of phases which were sometimes hot and sometimes cold. It was in 2011 when government posted me to Mzimba South to Mgomezga School in Kapoli zone. Upon entering the school ground, I could sense and see what my calling as a primary teacher would mean. The school had only one classroom block against eight classes, four qualified teachers and only one teacher’s house which was in good condition. The headteacher and the school committee provided me with a house which was still under construction.
A saying came back to my memory at the time: “Love your school and think of what you can do for your school and don’t expect the school to do anything for you.” I did not spend my time blaming the government but decided to use my money and work out the problem by buying the required material and hired a carpenter who assisted me to complete the house.
After the completion of my house, I faced a situation in which I stayed for six months without a salary, this challenge shocked me since I was the only newly recruited teacher who was confronted by this challenge. Although I struggled, I did not let myself down by this situation. I continued to work hard believing that at some point the issue would resolve itself.
In August 2013, I requested a transfer to go to Rumphi district where I am working now. With the support of my pastor and the Teacher Support Unit (TSU), I was able to travel the distance to my new posting.
When I arrived in Rumphi, the school that was provided to me was Mantchewe in Livingstonia, the zone is at the outskirts of Rumphi district bordering with Karonga. I had only been working at Mantchewe school for about six months and the DEM (District Education Manager) together with our PEA (Primary Education Advisor) decided to promote me to be the headteacher of the school.
I haven been a headteacher for 5 years now. This promotion has done nothing to disturb my vision for making a difference as a teacher but rather a stepping stone to another level. I am hoping to upgrade my degree so that one day an Emmanuel graduate like me can become a secondary teacher Fortunately, in December 2018 I was able to join The Modern Education Training and Institute (METI) in Blantyre where I am doing a course for a Diploma in Education as a Secondary School Teacher.
It is my wish that one day I can become a lecturer at Emmanuel Teacher Training College. The saying: “Only the sky is the limit and I can do everything through Jesus” gives me strength. In conclusion, all appreciations goes to Emmanuel lectures for baking me and making me one of the teacher whom other teachers are inspired by.
God bless Emmanuel College and TSU. Allan Chilongo January, 2019