Andria Zafirakou who teaches in an ethnically diverse school in northwest London has been shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation’s 2018 Global Teacher Prize.
She is among 9 other candidates for the prize that awards $1 million each year to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
The winner of the 2018 Global Teacher Prize will be announced during the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on 18th March.
These are all teachers who have made a significant difference in their students’ lives – sometimes against all odds – and they deserve to be celebrated.
38-year-old Zafirakou teaches at Alperton Community School, a secondary school academy in the inner city borough of Brent.
Brent is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country and 130 languages are spoken in its schools.
Its pupils come from some of the poorest families in Britain, many sharing one house with five other families, many exposed to gang violence.
“There is no other job like being a teacher”, Andria says.
“In what other profession are you selfless and completely devoted to creating the right conditions and opportunities for another person to achieve?
“Being in a classroom and watching a student have an idea and transform it into a formidable outcome is so satisfying and fulfills me,” Andria says.
Learning the basics of many of the 35 languages in Alperton’s pupil population, Andria has been able to reach out to her once marginalized students to earn their trust and, crucially, establish relationships with their parents.
Thanks to her efforts, a feature on Varkey Foundation says, Alperton is now in the top 1 to 5% of the country in terms of qualifications and accreditations.
This as a colossal achievement given how low the students’ starting points were and how rapidly they progressed during their five to seven years at the school, a point recognized by the national inspection team.