This March 2018 the world finally got to meet what the Varkey Foundation, an education charity founded by education entrepreneur Sunny Varkey, calls the best global teacher: Mrs Andria Zafirakou from London. She teaches art and textiles in a Brent secondary school and has won a prize worth $1m (£720,000) for her “resilience, ingenuity and a generous heart” as Prime Minister Theresa May emphasized in a video message.
But what makes a teacher stand out like her amongst more than 30,000 nominees in 173 countries? Here’s what some of her colleagues who nominated her said:
“A phenomenal teacher and leader. She is guided by a moral compass that underpins a passionate desire to give every student at her school the world – no ceilings, no limitations, no boundaries.”
“She is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to ensuring that students deserve the best education possible.”
Another nominee for the global teacher prize was Eddie Woo, a head of maths teacher in Sydney, Australia who recently became a hit on YouTube by posting his high-energy maths lessons on his channel WooTube. He also won the Australian Local Hero Award for his impressive contributions to education in the country. When interviewed as a nominee for the award he said “I do want to get that sense of wonder that students and human beings have”, which is why his lessons are so popular and engaging.
In the Teachers’ Standards published by the Department for Education one key point is “Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils”! And this is exactly what these two outstanding teachers are doing. Inspiration, motivation and passion are key ingredients for outstanding teaching and Mr Varkey, who believes in the power of education to reduce poverty, prejudice and conflict around the world is supporting excellent teachers with this prize, as he knows “everyone deserve a great teacher”.
Andria Zafirakou knows she can’t do it all alone and is building the talent of other teachers for the future in her school.
If you want to become a one million dollar teacher then get into teaching and become a hero for many who are in need of developing a love and hunger for life long learning!