Growing up, Feggie Mphasi Mwale desired to be a lawyer and represent others on legal matters.
But once she stepped foot in front of a class to teach back in 2000, Feggie realised she was born a teacher.
She embarked on her teaching career in 2000 at Mary Mount Secondary School in Mzuzu.
This was immediately after leaving college.
Later on in 2001, Feggie joined the civil service and was posted to the Henry Henderson Institute (HHI).
From HHI, she taught at Mwanza Secondary School, doubling as boarding mistress.
Thereafter, she went to Chichiri Secondary School, Chirimba Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) and now at Ngumbe CDSS where she is also the head teacher.
“When I began the teaching course, I remember the first assignment question that our year got was ‘are teachers born or made?’ I believe this assignment shaped who I am and how I do things today.
“I am a teacher through and through; and nothing makes me happier than meeting students I cannot even remember, sharing the impact I have had in their lives,” she explains.
The 44-year-old has fond memories of her final year at Chichiri Secondary School where from the three Form Four classes she taught, 67 students got distinctions in English and History.
“I believe I have built a family and not a team among teachers and support staff as head teacher at Ngumbe CDSS.
“This cohesion has improved results at the school as we continue sending students to public universities each year. With all the woes in CDSSs, such an improvement in teacher motivation and students achievement is no mean feat,” she says.
Feggie’s recipe for success is multi-faceted. Firstly, she promotes continuous professional development (CPD) within the school.
“Whatever I learn as a master trainer, even if it is not for Blantyre rural district, I ensure it trickles down to the school. School managers have also been trained as trainers of trainers; hence, we do not need a lot of financial resources to conduct a school-based CPD so that teachers at Ngumbe are adept with new teaching methods,” she says.
In addition, she adds that they conduct classroom supervision to ensure the implementation of CPD.
“The supervision process is not to find faults, but to better teachers and build a community of practice,” Feggie explains.
The school also encourages students to participate in study circles where they are placed in groups and given tasks to work on by teachers.
Study circles are managed and supervised by subject teachers.
The results-oriented teacher that she is, her focus is not only on students’ performance, but also welfare.
Her motto is, ‘every child in Malawi regardless of where they have been selected to needs an education.’
Feggie observes that while government is trying hard to improve education standards, it can only do so much.
She acknowledges that government has trusted her with management of the school on its behalf and she must conduct her duties with due diligence.
As such, the teacher courts organisations, individuals and politicians to assist with resources where they can as some have erected new blocks.
Ngumbe CDSS has convinced parents, through the parent/teacher association, to contribute more than the school development fund to get projects moving.
“As a school, we always contribute something, even if it is just bricks in a building project. We have also secured permanent partners such as Classrooms for Malawi, who are helping us in infrastructure rehabilitation,” says the passionate teacher.
She encourages boys and girls to attain skills for survival in the 21st century.
Feggie explains: “Not everyone can get into gainful employment. To this end, at Ngumbe CDSS, we have a school garden managed by students. We are into bee keeping, encourage tree planting and are embarking on a cookery club this year. We are doing all this to train our students with skills they can use to earn a living once they leave Ngumbe CDSS.”
Her advice to girls is to be unrelenting in their quest for knowledge.
“No one should cheat you to drop out of school and rush into marriage or migrate to South Africa. We are breaking the glass ceiling and the world shall be theirs to conquer armed with an education,” she says.
Feggie has been married to Buchiya Mwale for 19 years and has children.
She is the second born of seven children, born in Nsanje to her late father who was an accountant and her late mother —a teacher in whose steps she is following.
Her father was a civil servant and it meant frequent transfers from one district to another or various locations within a district which led to the seven of them attending various primary schools.
However, Mganthira Primary School ushered her to Nkhamenya Girls Secondary School in Kasungu.
Feggie wanted to become a lawyer, but fate saw her stepping into the education path.
First, she went to Domasi College of Education where she studied for a diploma in education.
From there, she went to upgrade at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences where she studied for a bachelor of education in business studies.
While pursuing her undergraduate studies, she was awarded the National Bank Merit Achievement Award for her faculty where she graduated with a distinction.
She then proceeded to study for a master of technical and vocational education at the same college, focussing on entrepreneurship education.
And as an entrepreneurial teacher, she has put theory into practice running two successful businesses as one half of Angelic Touch Decor (an events company) and a catering business called Tafe’s Kitchen.
Feggie dreams about pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy in education and move into policy formulation, especially in vocational education and training education. In her free time, the educator loves cooking, reading, sightseeing and meeting new people.