A day in the life of Woodson Mkhuta

This deputy headteacher at a Malawi secondary school rises early and works long days. He is devoted to the job, taking his own classes as well as stepping in when other teachers fail to turn up

I wake up at 4am and start work straight away. I am zealous about teaching and love to get working as soon as I can. I read in preparation for the lessons I will be teaching today and make some notes on the topics. Then I help my wife and children to clean and tidy the house, which takes about 30 minutes.

At 6.20am, I take my bath and ensure I am ready for the busy day I have planned. I live close to school, so I arrive at 6.30am. As the deputy headteacher of Kapanda Secondary School, I walk around the grounds, unlocking and opening all the doors. Then I collect the cleaning materials. I instruct some of the students to help with the cleaning so that the school is in perfect condition for the beginning of the day. I hate to see any mess and like to assign jobs to students, so that they learn to appreciate their school and work hard for it.

I ring the bell at 7.30am, to let everyone know that the day is about to begin. Then I go to the staffroom to tell the teachers to attend their classes. I think punctuality is important and teachers have to make a good impression on students.

At around 9.30am I set some time aside for breakfast - I am usually very hungry by then. Then I handle the discipline cases of students who have misbehaved.

According to the timetable posted in the staffroom, I am supposed to teach three classes every day. My subjects are social studies and geography, which I really enjoy. When I am not teaching my own students, I walk around the school and check the classrooms. If I see a class without a teacher, I step in to cover the lesson. I often have to cover classes that are without a teacher, in a variety of subjects. I hate to see children not learning anything. Teachers are responsible for their students' education and I put a lot of effort into ensuring that our learners are able to make the most of their time at school.

After the school day finishes at 2pm, I prepare for "open school", when we welcome people from the wider community who want to learn. Although this means that the day is long, I think it is crucial to teach as many people as possible. Some of the classes are very big, but this means that I am able to help more students.

I am also patron of the Wildlife Club. We hold many meetings with the children where we discuss and learn about the environment. We also debate how we can raise money to continue to finance the club.

At 5.30pm, when open school finishes, I say goodbye to the learners and walk around the grounds closing and locking all the doors. It's a long and tiring day.

In the evening I have dinner with my wife and three children. We talk about what we have been doing today and enjoy each other's company. If we had any solar power or enough electricity, I would watch television or films, but instead I listen to the news on the radio. I go to bed at 8pm, to get ready for another busy day.

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email richard.vaughan@tes.co.uk

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