GDPR Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy What It Means to Be a Teacher in Africa – Mwerevu Inc
Handsome african man at busy modern office. Portrait of young successful male looking at camera and smiling.

A lot of people have the idea that teaching is a job that doesn’t require a lot of effort, dedication, or perseverance. That it is a job that only involves a bit of paperwork and dealing with multiple students while enjoying the comforts of this position. 

Although this idea might be right to a certain extent, it has never been an international fact.

As you can see, the idea of the “typical teacher” who wakes up in the morning in a soft bed, prepares his espresso, and head to work in his car does not cover every teacher in the world, especially those living in Africa.

Teachers in Africa need to cope with different environments and conditions. Some of these later may even prove to be deadly in certain places. In today’s article, I’ll show you what it means to be a teacher in the continent of ancient civilizations: Mother Africa.

  • It means: Walk for hours to get to school.

Some countries in central Africa don’t have the required resources to provide teachers and students with conventional transport systems like school buses or metros like we see in other developed countries. In certain areas, teachers need to walk, climb and descend mountains and even swim to reach their school.

Some teachers even cook lunch and dinner for their kids because they can’t make it in time to eat with them because of the long-distance. 

As you can see, their road, if any, is not only lengthy, but it is also filled with dangers since many of those roads cross-forest and jungles. 

The next time you think that waiting for 20 minutes in traffic while enjoying the comfort of your car is something to complain about, just remember that there are other teachers out there who need to stay away from their homes all day long. They leave early in the morning while their children are asleep and come back late to find them asleep as well just to provide their families with a healthy life, escape poverty, and provide their community with a decent level of education.

  • It means: Working more than expected.

Teachers in Africa strive to meet the same conditions that the teachers of other developed countries have to meet. And the number one condition on their list is to: finish the lesson plans and school programs.

 One may say, What’s the big deal! If many teachers did it, many others can. 

The problem is that: the matter we are discussing is not about the ability of the African teacher to deliver their tasks, but more of: how can they educate students with what they have in hand?

Teachers in Africa have to work with chalkboards, a limited number of tables, overcrowded rooms, old used books, and limited resources. What makes things even worse is that they can’t oblige the student to purchase those items because they know that most of them are poor and that they might drop out of school because of shame of not being able to provide them. African teachers need to deal with the administrative burden and challenges they face during the day, and they must keep order as well. 

So, the only option left for them is to teach with what they have and manage to finish lesson plans even if it is hard. This includes working outside regular days, communicate more often with students to know whether they grasped the lesson or not. Also, grade all of their works to understand when to move to the next part of the program.

Seldom, African teachers are even required to teach out of class and under the burning sun when the conditions inside the school are not convenient for learning.

But on top of all of this, what makes African teachers unique is that:

  • The Best Teachers in Africa sacrifice because they WANT to:

A good heart, a pure soul, and a peaceful conscience are the qualities that characterize most African teachers. Because the truth is: those teachers are not obliged to sacrifice. They only need to work and do what they’re supposed to do in order not to get fired.

Still, they do sacrifice. Why? Because they know that this is the right thing to do. They know that those students are like their sons and daughters, and they need to teach them because they are the future teachers, administrators, and presidents of their countries. 

Most importantly, they simply know the struggle, and they don’t want to see it again on the faces of their own students.

And there’s no better example than the winner of the 2019 Global teacher prize: Peter Tabichi

Peter Mokaya Tabichi is a Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar who won the global teacher prize, which is an annual US award to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

What makes his story great is, although the hard conditions of living in his county, he gives not only 10%, not 20%, but 80% of his salary to local community projects in addition to education, sustainable agriculture, and peace-building.

In addition to that, Peter Tabichi also introduced science clubs and promoted peace between different religious and ethnic groups in his area. Accomplishing this in a village where 95% of the students live in poverty, and 30% of them are either orphans or come from single-parent families is quite the sacrifice. Tabichi himself stated that “The school is in a very remote area. Most of the students come from impoverished families. Even affording breakfast is hard. They’re not able to concentrate, because they haven’t had enough meals at home.”

To conclude, it seems fair to shed a little light on the African teachers, not because of the sacrifices they make, but their desire to make them. Teaching children who represent the hopes of their nations and who will one day mature into future leaders of their own countries.

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