Opeifa named finalist for $1m Global Teacher Prize
Olasunkanmi Opeifa, an English teacher at the Government Day Secondary School, Abuja, has been shortlisted as a top ten finalist for The Global Teacher Prize 2020.
The Global Teacher Prize, a $1 million prize awarded annually, is given to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession of teaching.
Olasunkanmi decided he wanted to be a teacher when he was just eight years old and that passion has only waxed stronger.
After graduation, he served for a year in a very remote part of the country, Koma, Adamawa, as the only English teacher in a village school of over 200 students, where he helped build the school’s first ever library. In 2012, he moved to Government Day Secondary School in Karu, a semi-rural area of Abuja serving children of low-income earners in the civil service, market traders and artisans. Students often cannot afford textbooks or the heavily subsidized school fees. With more than fifty students per class, he grappled with teaching English to children with poor writing and reading skills and relative poverty, but despite so many challenges, his is a success story.
Olasunkanmi Opeifa has a reputation for innovation and going out of his way to ensure his students receive the best possible tuition, often consulted by other staff on the latest 21st century learning skills, as he uses the flipped classroom model for teaching essay writing, Google Forms or Microsoft Forms for assessment, online videos and e-past questions. To stimulate his students he has been known to use edutainment/fun-based learning for teaching English language concepts, for example linking essay writing with popular dance steps and, to demonstrate phonology and grammar, he has even taken to rapping and hip-hop songs.
Having published a book on oral English pedagogy in 2014, he has been invited to speak at seminars organized for teachers. He boosted his school’s recognition and good name winning the 2018 Maltina Teacher of the Year Award as the best teacher in Nigeria and as part of the dividend from this prize a block of six classrooms was built at the school with a library well stocked with books, enabling the school to take up to 300 new students a year.
In response to the news, here’s what Olasunkanmi had to say:
I am delighted to know that I have been selected as Top 10 teacher in the world out of 12,000 applications from over 140 countries. This is huge for me and my students of GDSS Karu @OfficialFCTA. It’s a win for my ministers @MuhdMusaBello and @DrRamatuAliyu. Winning is possible!