In Eritrea where Kebrom Tekle was born and raised, teachers are considered as being highest up on the social ladder – second only to God.
“That may have been why already as a child I wanted to be a teacher,” he says and laughs.
Even if the road has sometimes been bumpy, his determination to become a teacher has always been there. It took him from Eritrea to Södermalm, from a teaching post at a university in Addis Ababa, via a SIDA scholarship in tropical ecology that led to a doctoral degree at Uppsala University, to being forced to seek asylum – and eventually ending up as a popular upper secondary school teacher in geography, environmental studies and civics at IEGS, where he has worked for 15 years. Strong motivation and energy are also attributes he wants to convey to his students.
“I am a fighter myself and I believe this spreads to the students. When they thank me because they have progressed and perform better, I respond that they shouldn’t thank me – they should thank themselves; it’s they who have fought hard”, he says.
“I have always set clear rules for how things are done in my classroom – caps off, mobile phones off and once the door is shut it remains shut until the lesson is over. My experience is that demanding respect breeds respect.