Monday, 22 October, 2018

British inner-city teacher named world's best, wins US$1 million prize

British teacher wins million-dollar Global Teacher Prize Andria Zafirakou from north London wins $1m 'world's best teacher' prize
Orlando Vargas | 19 March, 2018, 15:04

Andria Zafirakou, a United Kingdom teacher based in the inner city borough of Brent, has won the prestigious Global Teacher Prize award which includes a whopping $1 million for being the "best teacher in the world".

The arts and textiles teacher from the Alperton Community College of Brent, an inner-city school in London, was among 10 finalists from around the globe for the annual award.

Ms Zafirakou, 39, has learnt how to say basic greetings in numerous 35 languages spoken at the school, including Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil and Portuguese, to help parents feel welcome and included.

She was credited for her efforts beyond the classroom, which include establishing relationships with parents, riding with students on the bus and standing at school gates with police officers to welcome students at the start of the day.

She said: 'Others could not participate in extracurricular activities after school because they had to take on parental responsibilities like collecting their brothers and sisters from other schools.

Accepting her award, Zafirakou said: "The community where I teach in Brent is beautifully diverse and indeed is one of the most multicultural communities in the world".

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and British Prime Minister Theresa May were among the first to congratulate her.

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'Being a great teacher requires resilience, ingenuity and a generous heart. These are the qualities that you share with your students everyday.

Stunned and excited, the secondary school (high school) teacher began her speech saying, "Wow!"

She said: "For many of our students, English is not the main language spoken at home".

As a member of the school's senior leadership team, Andria has transformed her school's approach to reach often isolated young people so that they can engage in school life and perform to the best of their abilities. In her own arts class, she worked with an "Artist in Residence" (Armando Alemdar) to creatively redesign the art curriculum to promote inspiration and help pupils confront and cope with the responsibilities of their complex home circumstances.

She told the AP that with the million-dollar prize she'd like to think about a project for her community that celebrates creativity.

She was crowned the victor during a ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Conference in Dubai, where she was presented with her prize by the Daily Show's Trevor Noah.

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