If you were to say something to your 20 year old self, what would you say?

“Don’t let other people make choices for you, especially when it comes to career choice, choose something that makes you happy, one that is satisfactory not only financially, but also emotionally. Make a career out of your talent”

Beth is a 54 years old lady with a big heart and positive outlook towards life. She is a teacher by profession and a very good one. She has been awarded a lot of certificates and awards for being the best teacher of the year numerous times. Despite being very good at what she does, she admits that she didn’t always want to be a teacher. She actually seems quite regretful about joining that career.

In 1980, Beth completed her primary school education and passed very well. She was a very bright student, always top of her class and very good at mathematics. She joined Mary Leaky high school which was a legendary school those days. Needless to say, she performed quite well in her 0 levels with exceptional performance in mathematics. At this point in life, she was sure about what career she wanted to pursue. She wanted to be an accountant, when I asked her why; she stated matter of factly, “Because I love math”

So, for someone who was so determined on joining the world of accounts, how did she end up in the classroom? A sad look clouds her eyes as she reflects. “It’s a combination of many circumstances actually, being the 5th born daughter in a family of 8 children; it was a little difficult to raise the fee required for her to pursue accounts at Strathmore University where she had secured a place. Also, as the norm was those days, decisions like what careers to pursue were solely made by the parents and it was decided that accounting was not a woman’s career. Without much choice, she enrolled at Thogoto Teachers College. She was disappointed at what life had handed her and was not quite sure that she would make a good teacher. Especially since she was not so keen about public speaking.

Fast forward 30 years later, she is the best teacher in her region. She attributes her success to the passion she has for helping children. She enjoys teaching mathematics and her class is always the best in the school. Is she happy teaching?

“No, I always wonder how life would have been had I followed my dream. I would be very far in life. What I dislike most about teaching apart from the low pay, is the monotonous nature of it. There is nothing new to look forward to. The lowest moment is always when I watch helplessly as a student fails to realize her/his potential due to domestic problems at home. It is so sad”

It is however not always doom and gloom in the teaching profession. There are happy moments. She says it makes her happy when a student exceeds her potential and performs well enough to become what she/he dreams of becoming. She always encourages students to join careers they would enjoy. Despite teaching not being her first choice, it has been a nice experience as she has gained a lot of knowledge in diverse areas. She also likes the fact that dealing with children always keeps her active and alert.

Writer: Penny Ann Njeri

Intern in DYC

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