Today, teachers in most parts of the world are regarded/viewed as not adding so much value to society or economic development and are subsequently underpaid. To most people, the photo above is just an ordinary photo and may trigger questions to what its relevance is regarding the subject matter. For me it is more than just a photo for the day I took it and every time I look at it, am reminded of my mathematics teacher Mr. Vincent Mwangana in Secondary School at St Edmunds Secondary School in Mazabuka-Zambia who groomed and shaped my research skills at an early stage in life. That photo has a background of an anchor and when taking that photo, I was exhausted from doing research that day in Namibia. Today am so anchored in Economics & Mathematics all thanks to this man.
Mathematics is more than just counting. It has been correctly stated that it is the science of structure, order, and relation that has evolved from elemental practices of counting, measuring, and describing the shapes of objects. It deals with logical reasoning and quantitative calculation, and its development has involved an increasing degree of idealization and abstraction of its subject matter. History has shown that In many cultures, under the stimulus of the needs of practical pursuits, such as commerce and agriculture, mathematics has developed far beyond basic counting. This growth has been greatest in societies complex enough to sustain these activities and to provide leisure for contemplation and the opportunity to build on the achievements of earlier mathematicians.
Growing up as a child, I was very adventurous, full of experiments and research at a tender age to a point that it worried my parents and siblings that the things I would do and dream of doing were too much for my age. From primary school I was this kid that was different and ever defying odds. I remember at one point in Jets club at secondary school I did a project were I made alcohol using local raw materials and how that could be used in laboratories in rural schools to teach science. That project drew so much attention among my friends at school and I remember carrying a sample in my bag on the school bus which we drunk with my friends as we went for the Jets national fair were I scooped 1st position the whole country in my category beating pupils from schools like Mpelembe who were feared so much back in the days. I went further with my project to an international fair were I did wonders with it as well. During primary and secondary school, I was always doing something that was considered crazy or not normal for a primary or secondary school pupil at the time and I was once nicknamed a wise dreamer.
Many are the times that as we grow up in life and are in school we struggle with what career we want to pursue. Even if we had careers masters back then in the days, they never really helped us with what career options we would look at. Fortunately for me, as I grew up and got to secondary school, I had already experimented so much and did so many crazy things for my age that I was decided that I wanted to be an Economist and Systems Engineer/IT Specialist. To achieve this I had to get anchored in Mathematics for I realized that for me to be a good Economist I needed to understand Mathematics and for me to be able to code in IT/Computer Studies I needed to understand Mathematics yet again. One thing become very evident, in secondary school while my friends were busy with what was contained in the syllabus I was so much ahead and was even looking at things for University level. I remember my mathematics teacher Mr, Vincent Mwangana used to tell me that I like too much of complicated mathematics and that I will end up confusing myself. I used to go to this man’s house with books and questions in Mathamatics that were really outside my scope at that time but one thing I will forever be grateful to him is that he anchored me in Mathematics. He took time to nature me while paying attention that I did not lose track of my secondary school studies. Mr. Mwangana become worried that I was losing focus but he did his best to keep me on track while he attended to me with my crazy mathematics appetite. If there is one Man and teacher I challenged and troubled to the greatest extent possible in my life, It is Mr. Vincent Mwangana. I remember certain times he would look at me and say, Jack this is University stuff why are you so over ambitious, I would tell him sir just teach me and certain times he would have no words at all but simply grab the book or question paper from me and start teaching me. Little did he even realize himself that he was grooming an Economist and IT Specialist who would study at Harvard in future.
In my years of extensive research and in-depth studies, mathematics has played a very important role and all thanks to this Man who at an early stage noticed my eagerness to learn new things and my drive to enter dreaded territories in the field of mathematics at my early stage in life.
When all is said and done, we go to schools become experts in X,Y and Z fields but usually forget that without a teacher, we would not be the experts that we have become and for that reason, it is time we all changed our perception about teachers and realize that they are very important people and play a very important role in as far as national and international development is concerned. Without teachers, whatever experts exist would not exist. Mr. Vincent Mwangana a mathematics teachers in my opinion is one of the best mathematics teachers Zambia has ever had among many others.
I am anchored in Economics and Mathematics all thanks to Mr. Vincent Mwangana who stood by me even when my ambition to learn more than secondary school mathematics at that time seemed overly ambitious and crazy.
To all teachers worldwide, keep up the great work you are doing!