Londoner receives $1 million for ‘World’s Best Teacher’
The Global Teacher Prize 2018, which had 10 finalists including a Turkish teacher, was announced to have been won by a British teacher working at a school in London on March 18.
Andria Zafirakou, an arts and textiles teacher from Alperton community school in northwest London, has been presented with the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher prize worth $1 million at a ceremony in Dubai.
“Too often, we neglect this power of the arts to actually transform lives, particularly in the poorest communities,” she said at the ceremony, which was attended by notables such as former United States Vice President Al Gore, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
“I have seen how the arts help students to communicate. The arts help to give so much confidence and really create incredible young people,” added Zafirakou, who is of Greek origin.
Working in a diverse neighborhood where more than 130 languages are spoken, she is known to be able to use basic phrases to greet the pupils in more than 30 languages including Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil.
She will be paid the prize money in installments only if she continues to work as a classroom teacher for at least five years.
Nurten Akkuş, a pre-school teacher at the Ayvacık Pre-School in the Turkey’s northern province of Samsun, was also shortlisted for the prize. Some 30,000 teachers from 173 countries were nominated.
Akkuş was praised for her “Daddy Tell Me a Story” campaign to increase the participation of fathers in pre-school education and Turkey’s first “multi-intelligence game hall,” where different groups of children are combined to share interests and abilities.