Like chance, excellence should favour the prepared

ON several occasions, we like to blame our circumstances on fate. We believe so much in the notion that things happened because they were meant to happen.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

ON several occasions, we like to blame our circumstances on fate. We believe so much in the notion that things happened because they were meant to happen. This is nothing but some religious perspective that we often rely on as a way to soothe our egos.

Say for example, Kabeera argues that the only reason Umutoni is better than him at anything is simply attributed to luck. This means that if Kabeera was half as lucky then he would beat Umutoni. You do realise that such reasoning can hardly hold. To add logic to all this, we have heard the adage that chance favours the prepared.

In other words it is not a matter of being lucky but one of being ready to take advantage of luck when it comes around. Therefore, if a chance came for you to win a trip to the Caribbean, your luck will still be dependent on your preparedness. For example, if you won but had no passport then that chance would have to go to the one who does.

I always like to adopt this same perspective when it comes to education. Much as we have seen school enrolment figures go up and almost every child attends school in Rwanda, we cannot deny that there are circumstances determined by fate. One is still lucky to find a good school, good teachers and great classmates.

Let us narrow this to the classroom situation. We may have all the students in class with a teacher but there are still areas we can attribute to chance. It is nice for example, for the teacher to be in a good mood, to be well versed with the topic he or she is teaching, a clean school environment, et cetera, in order for students to perform well.

So with the right teaching conditions in place we can be certain that learning will surely take place and the students will benefit. Let’s not get a head of ourselves here; how prepared are the students to take advantage of this conducive learning environment? As a teacher, I have seen many cases where students are in class but not prepared to take advantage of the learning environment.

Any student who walks into class without the necessary scholastic materials is clearly not prepared to learn. I used to always ask students who came to my class without a pen or an exercise book whether they had just come to look at me and examine my facial features. It is like a driver entering in a car without car keys.

One must be ready to partake in the learning process with minimum interruptions. This includes carrying the necessary scholastic materials, being abreast with what was taught the last time as well as being ready to pay maximum attention during the lesson.

In the afternoons, soon after a heavy carbohydrates-laden meal, students tend to find it difficult to focus in class with some clearly falling asleep during a lesson. A teacher should be able to notice such tendencies and devise techniques to address them. This may include asking the students to stand and sit down in a bid to get them re-energised for more learning.

In general, a skilled teacher must always make sure that his or her students are indeed ready to learn. They should attend classes on time, armed with the right scholastic materials and hopefully, the required attitude to learn. Effort must be made to ascertain that they actually have all the materials they need.

Ensuring that students are prepared to learn teach is technically the process of creating a teachable environment where you have the optimum conditions for learning to take place. Any student who is not prepared to learn should not expect to succeed and therefore there is no need to blame fate after all. 


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