Meet this year’s ‘World’s Best Teacher’
39-year-old Andria Zafirakou is the winner of this year’s Global Teacher Prize. She defeated nearly 30,000 nominees from 173 countries to become the first British woman to win the prize. She has also been awarded USD 1 million which she will receive in installments while continuing to work as a teacher for at least five years.
Zafirakou teaches art and textile at Alperton community school in north London, UK. The school is located in one of the country’s most ‘ethnically diverse and disadvantaged places.’ When she joined the school, she faced a daunting task of protecting her students from the dangers of gang violence amidst the challenges of poverty and diverse backgrounds. Instead of surrendering before the situation, she decided to do something about it.
She works with police to prevent gangs from recruiting students while they wait for their bus; and has learnt the basic phrases in 35 languages to help students and parents feel included
She has learnt the basic phrases in 35 languages including Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati, to help students and parents feel included. She has set up a boxing club where students exercise, learn self-defence and thus not venture out on the streets during evenings. She works with police to prevent gangs from recruiting students while they wait for their bus. And that’s not all! Through art, she has been able to develop skills and confidence among her students while offering them an outlet for expressing challenging home circumstances.
It’s because of her efforts that Alperton has received ‘specialist school’ status in visual arts. The school is also in the top 5% in England and Wales for improving pupils’ achievement.