Peter was recently announced as the world’s best teacher. He gives away 80% of his salary to support pupils, who otherwise could not afford uniforms or books.
Congratulations on winning the 2019 Global Teacher Prize. When your name was called out as the winner what went through your mind?
I was surprised. I didn’t expect it. I was trying to hide the tears which reminded me of the challenges that I faced when I was growing up, with my family, with my father. It also reminded me of the challenges which my kids are facing in an environment where they don’t have resources.
Do you believe that the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize gives teachers the recognition they deserve, and will it elevate the value of teachers throughout the world?
I can assure you that it is already happening back where I teach at my school and at neighbouring schools. The teachers are motivated. Even when I was nominated as a top 50 finalist, I could see a difference in how the teachers were working. It is a marvelous way to raise the status of the teaching profession. It is an excellent initiative.
When you made the decision to move from a private school to a remote village school, could you ever have imagined the journey that that decision would take you on, standing on this global platform as the winner?
No. When I was working at my previous school I had so many benefits and luxuries, like WiFi at the school. I decided to move to my current school after I was invited there to give a talk. I was touched by the kind of challenges and the situation there, and I told myself that because I was touched, I should do something there, by training to work there. When I was training, I didn’t know that this level of recognition was possible beyond that local area. Now it has gone beyond the local area, beyond the county, Nakuru, it went beyond Kenya, and it is now going beyond Africa.
I want to inspire other teachers to work hard and have passion for what they are doing, and to realise that teaching is a very noble profession. – Peter Tabichi
What do you hope to contribute to the teaching profession going forward?
When I see progress happening in society it makes me happy. I want to inspire other teachers to work hard and have passion for what they are doing, and to realise that teaching is a very noble profession. I will also try to create some initiatives and projects to raise the status of teaching, and education in general.
I understand that you have also been giving a large proportion of your salary to your school. What do you hope to do in the future to be able to support them going forward?
More than 80% of this will go to my school to help to deal with most of the challenges it has. It does not have a computer lab and the classrooms are not well equipped, and there is no library.
So, you have changed their lives through this win?
Yes. I want our school, Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru to become a model school for the other African countries, so that people will know that even a small school, despite the kind of challenges they have, can rise and be great even with few resources.