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Brother Tabichi with his students Brother Tabichi with his students 

Brother Tabichi: “World’s best teacher” visits Argentina

Brother Peter Tabichi, the Kenyan Franciscan who earlier this year was awarded the title of “World’s best teacher,” has visited Argentina.

Sofía Lobos; Paul Samasumo - Vatican City

Brother Peter Tabichi was in Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of an initiative organised by the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

While in Argentina, he shared his story and journey leading to the award. Before even winning the award, Tabichi would routinely donate 80% of his salary to help poorer learners.

In March, this year, Brother Peter Tabichi was awarded the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Sharing his story and journey

 “It’s an honour for me to be in Argentina. I am grateful to be able to share my story with you and also my desire to learn from you,” said Brother Tabichi in the Argentine capital

The Franciscan Brother told his Argentian hosts that the best-teacher award was not only for him alone but also for all teachers who pursue the noble vocation.

“We have to recognise and value the services that teachers provide; but above all, we have to give priority to education,” Brother Tabichi said.

Brother Tabichi is a teacher of Maths and Science at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Kenya.

“I come from a humble family. My father was also a teacher. We have gone through many challenges as a family. The first for me was having to walk eight Kilometres every day so that I could attend school. In spite of this, I was able to have a good education and even go to university,” he said.

A passion for helping learners achieve

He added that when at first he became a teacher, he chose to work in a private school and things there were good and easy for him there.

“At first, I was working in a private school that had all the resources and modern facilities. This was very convenient as it allowed me to do all my work on a computer, with good books and other teaching material and aids ... but I was disturbed by the fact that many teachers in my country did not have the same resources,” he said.

Creativity in overcoming challenges

Eventually, he decided to move to work in his current school, Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School, in Pwani Village. It is located in a semi-arid part of Kenya’s Rift Valley. The school has only one desktop computer, poor Internet and a learner-teacher ratio of 58:1.

The learners in Brother Tabachi’s school face many challenges. Living in a drought-prone region, many go to school without food. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, early-child marriages and suicides are common. Nearly all his learners are from low-income families, and almost a third of them are orphans or have only one parent.

The award-winning teacher said the first thing they do in the morning is to feed the students.

“In Keriko, teachers develop diverse and varied tasks. You have to be creative to respond to all the challenges and help our learners who arrive, discouraged and sometimes emotionally distressed.”

Learners are performing well

Speaking of stress, Tabichi explained that this is an issue that also affects teachers at his school since there are only seven teachers for 700 students.

“We teach, plan, correct students’ work, prepare the activities and all with the desire to transform our society,” said Brother Tabichi.

Nevertheless, at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School, enrollment has doubled, and more of the learners are now going on to college and university. Girls, in particular, are performing well.

Learners grow in knowledge, skill and confidence

On being awarded, “World’s best teacher” prize Brother Tabichi declared: “Seeing my learners grow in knowledge, skill and confidence is my greatest joy in teaching! When they become resilient, creative and productive in society, I get a lot of satisfaction for I act as their greatest destiny enabler and key that unlocks their potential in a most exciting manner.”

16 July 2019, 14:27