Today the world is commemorating this year’s World Teachers Day.
We join the rest of the world in celebrating the world’s number one teacher, Peter Mokaya Tabichi and congratulate him on his well-deserved win earlier this year.
We celebrate Peter for bagging the 2019 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize and challenging those of us in more privileged situations to rise to the occasion.
Well done Mwalimu Peter. You have demonstrated to the world that indeed teaching is a calling.
We take a lot of pride in your kind gestures of service to humanity as aptly captured by the way you go above and beyond the call of duty to touch lives of your learners and the community around your school.
Previously, we have argued that contrary to conventional belief, teaching is an emotional exercise. You have emotionally connected with your learners and the surrounding community.
Teaching is not a mechanical classroom engagement. It is not a ritual that teachers routinely conduct. It is a relationship-building process. Peter’s emotional connection has earned him a soft spot in the hearts of his students.
Once a teacher emotionally connects with his/her learners, learning becomes easier.
President Theodore Roosevelt observed, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Peter epitomizes the wisdom in this quote for he has done that to the students of Keriko secondary school and the community by giving back 80% of his salary to them. A kinder teacher never lived.
By caring for his learners, Peter demonstrates that it is not Mathematics and Physics that count but their relationship first. Paul in the bible tells his followers to follow him as he (Peter) follows Christ.
Peter teaches students Mathematics as opposed to what the majority of us do; we teach Mathematics to students. It means we value the subjects we teach more than the students thus the disconnect.
In the book of James 3:1, teachers are warned thus, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
It implies that our heavenly father has certain expectations of our teachers. It is not just parroting about the subjects we teach. No. It is not about bragging about the Chemistry contents we know and the chemical formulas. It is all about caring about the young souls God has placed in our care.
Peter in his simple teaching with love has exceeded expectations of the judgment in James 3:1. He has already secured a favourable ruling on the judgment day.
Have you ever wondered why pupils in kindergarten are fond of their teachers? It is because kindergarten teachers genuinely share, care, love, change them when wet and hug them.
Kindergarten model in high school
They emotionally connect and ultimately bond with their learners through kind gestures of motherly love. Consequently, the babies grow fond them.
The babies do not care how much their teachers know. Because of the unconditional love their teachers show them, they think these teachers are super.
You see, it works magic. When the babies go home, they assert that ” the teacher said” even when the teacher is wrong.
Peter uses the kindergarten model in a high school thus the outcome is a global recognition.
We salute you, sir, for teaching the marginalized with christ’ love and thus giving us teachers new impetus. Your simplicity and humility is out of this world. No other teacher could have won it! You have raised the bar so high but teachers are equal to the task. Congratulations, sir.
Seeing you on the world’s television sets opening the US Congress was such a humbling moment for us. Today as the world marks the Teachers Day, you have given a whole new meaning to the word teacher.
Mwalimu Ashford is an MA student in Project Planning & Management at UoN.
Ashford Gikunda is a MA student in Project Planning & Management at The University of Nairobi.