Many of us at my age have been to High School. We have memories of being in class and memories of the many things we did together as students. We remember some of our school teachers and miss them, others we do not even want to think about.
High School Experience
I actually realized that it has been 11 years since I left High School. However, I have many memories of some of the things we did as students, some of the naughty things we said about our teachers and of course how much we hated the food at school. Top on the list is what we referred to as, bitter herbs. These are the famous greens- Sukuma Wiki, but once they were made at Murray Girls High School, they were something totally different. First, we critiqued the way they were cut into big pieces, then I am sure they were boiled and finally when they got to our plates, they were definitely bitter herbs.
Last weekend, I gave myself a refresher course of being in High School again. When one of my journalist friend, Maureen Mudi from Mombasa asked me to visit a Secondary School in Kaloleni for a mentoring program, I gladly accepted. Kombeni Girls Secondary School had planned a career day where they organized for various speakers in the various professionals to talk to the girls. Some of the professions represented on this particular day included Journalism, Information Technology, Medicine, Teaching, though the teachers were quick to inform me that most students do not like the idea of being teachers. This seems to be a last thought for many of them.
The teachers concerned had organized the day in such a manner that the various speakers will rotate from one class to another ensuring that at the end of the day, all the speakers went to all the classes, form one to form four.
All these sessions were scheduled to take an hour, however, I later realized all the sessions went longer than an hour as the students seemed to have so many questions to ask. Some of the key issues that were evident is that, most of these students are in a phase where they really want to make a decision as far as their careers are concerned and definitely many need guidance on this. Speaking to people who are already practicing these specified courses is a sure way to ensure that the students get it right when it comes to what they want to do in the future.
Some quick observations. I am sure I did the same when I was in High School. Lets talk about those who are interested in journalism. It was evident that many want to be news anchors, radio presenters and reporters. Many mentioned TV news anchors and reporters as some of the people who give them inspiration and they would like to be like them. Top on the list in all the classes were Julie Gichuru, Caroline Mutoko, Swaleh Mdoe, Mohammed Ali, Kanze Dena, Jamilla Mohammed and Mwanaisha Chidzuga. It was evident that many would like to work in the main stream media houses like the Nation Media Group, Standard Media, Royal Media, Radio Africa and the like.
Many did not actually realize that mass communication is broader than just the electronic media, TV and Radio. I had a tough job trying to explain that there are other categories of communications including, Public Relations, Advertising, Print Media and Social Media management. In all the classes, there were more than 20 students interested in journalism; this was of course very encouraging. At the same time, this was very worrying. While all these students want to be journalists, their main motivation was the money, fame, the travelling opportunities and an opportunity to meet and hung out with celebrities as they described them. Of course this does not just happen overnight. All media houses want to ensure that they employ only the top cream, the very best of the best and therefore as starters, there is a need for constant growth and a desire to remain relevant.
Many of the schools now have mentorship programs, a noble course as it gives a chance to the students to ask questions concerning the various professions. Some of the questions that seemed to trouble these girls included the various subjects that they had to excel in, in order to qualify to join journalism schools, the duration that one had to take in school in order to qualify as a journalist, the various job opportunities available for journalists in today’s market. Other interesting questions included, how do TV news anchors manage to cram all the news items before going on air? Can one be employed as a news reader, just that?
Putting myself in their shoes, I would have asked the same questions then. Having been in class and practicing journalism, I definitely found some of the questions funny. Then I realize, there is definitely a need for students to interact with professionals representing some of their careers of interest. As we left the school, we were convinced that, it was a fruitful day and our hope is that many of them will now make informed decisions as they think of their future.
We also had a great chance to tour the school, courtesy of the school teachers who showed us some of the projects that the school is involved in. As we took tea, we were informed that the school does not buy milk instead it has invested in hybrid cows that provide milk for the students on a daily basis. Other projects included a dormitory funded by the Taveta Member of Parliament, Dr. Naomi Shabaan and of course it is named after her.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou.
Enjoy a blessed weekend ahead!