London community school teacher in last 10 for $1m global prize
Teaching London community school teacher in last 10 for $1m global prize
Andria Zafirakou has been shortlisted from more than 30,000 people for teaching award
An art and textiles teacher at a community school in London has been named as one of 10 finalists in the running for a $1m global teaching prize.
Andria Zafirakou, who works at Alperton community school in Brent, was chosen out of more than 30,000 nominations from more than 170 countries.
Other f inalists include a history teacher at a private school in South Africa, a Turkish pre-school teacher, a creative writing teacher from the Philippines, a maths teacher from Australia and an English teacher from Norway.
Zafirakou joined Alperton as a newly qualified teacher in 2005 and has worked her way up to become a member of the senior leadership team. The school said her success was built on being rooted in the local community, which had given her an understanding of the deprivation that affects many of her pupilsâ lives.
The prize committee were impressed by her efforts to reach isolated young people to help them engage in school life and perform to the best of their abilities. âShe quickly realised that a one-size-fits-all curriculum would not resonate with all her students so she set about redesigning it from top to bottom, alongside fellow teachers, in order to make it relevant to her pupilsâ lives,â the committee said.
She told judges: âBy getting pupils to open up about their home lives, I discovered that many of my students come from crowded homes where multiple families share a single property.
âIn fact itâs often so crowded and noisy Iâve had students tell me they have to do their homework in the bathroom, just to grab a few moments alone so they can concentrate. I also found that some were being forced to play truant to cook meals in the allocated time slot they were permitted to use their shared home kitchen.
âDiscovering all this prompted me to organise additional provision within the school day and often at weekends to help students have the opportunity to progress.â
Zafirakou was one of four UK teachers who made the shortlist of 50, including Eartha Pond, a deputy headteacher at the Crest academy also in Brent, north-west London who raised more than Â£100,000 for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
The committee makes its assessments based on the candidatesâ suc cess in the classroom, their innovative teaching practices, their achievements in the wider community and their example to others who might want to become teachers. The winner will be announced next month at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.
Announcing the top 10 finalists, philanthropist Bill Gates said: âWhen you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch â" one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies.â
The Global Teacher prize was set up four years ago by the Varkey Foundation to improve the status of teachers and publicly acknowledge the work they do. The winner is paid the prize money over 10 years in equal instalments and will be given financial counselling.
- Awards and prizes
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