Meet Andria Zafirakou, who is now officially the best teacher in the world.

Andria, or Ms Zafirakou to me and you, beat 300,000 applicants from all over the world to win the World Teacher Prize, and €1 million in prize money. Andria is an arts teacher at Alperton Community School in a deprived area in London, and has brought it into the top 5% in the UK in terms of qualifications and accreditation. Because of the diverse population, she has learned phrases in 35 languages, just so she can communicate with all of her pupils. She says that her pupils often have to do their homework in the bathroom, as their homes are so crowded.

She said: “For many of our students, English is not the main language spoken at home. It’s also a community where many of our students unfortunately live in challenging circumstances. What is amazing is that whatever issues they are having at home, whatever is missing from their lives or causes them pain: Our school is theirs.”

 Andria Zafirakou speaks to journalists after winning the Global Teacher Prize


Asked what she will do with the prize money, she said: “I’m going to be patient, I’m going to reflect, but as you know I think it would be really fantastic if I could think about how the arts could be celebrated even further within our school community. I have seen how the arts help students to communicate. The arts help to give so much confidence and really create incredible young people.”

Having one good teacher, who genuinely cares, is a lifeline for so many of us. These are our heroes. If you have such a teacher in your school, please get in touch, so we can celebrate them.
A good teacher can change your life A great teacher can change the world…

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