Peter Tabichi, a science teacher who donates 80 per cent of his salary to charity, was awarded the $1 million Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize title by a panel of education experts in Dubai earlier this year.
The 36-year-old, who says being a Franciscan monk motivates him to give away so much of his income, flew in from Kenya to address an assembly of 230 pupils at Nelson Primary School in Barking.
He helped run a lesson on zero-waste which its pupils share with their partner school, St Joseph’s Academy in Oyugis, Kenya.
Mr Tabichi told pupils to never stop believing in themselves
Mr Tabichi, who is in England for a week, said: “I just want to tell the pupils today that they need to trust their gifts and potential and talents and listen to their teachers, to get their support and unlock their potential.”
Nelson Primary pupil Zainab Shah, 10, said: “It’s very exciting he is here, because he got the best teacher award. I want to be a teacher as well, I want to be like him one day.”
Mr Tabichi helped pupils at his Keriko Secondary School in Pwani Village in Kenya’s Rift Valley – a rural school with only one computer in a region where drought and famine are frequent – win a national science competition with their research projects last year.
The teacher has already visited the Science Museum while in London. He said: “The children here have more access to facilities for learning, but back at home they do not have that access.
“It’s important to connect the pupils because they then get to appreciate people from different parts of the world and they will know about their culture and the challenges they are going through. That sharing will help them a lot and I hope they will become global citizens and collaborate.”
Daniel Okiya, head of Nelson Primary’s Global Learning project, said: “It’s an honour to have him here at our school.”