Now in its third year, the US $1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.
In December, I was humbled and shocked to be invited into the top 50 of the competition. I enjoy teaching and the one thing that I like about it is that every day is different. Students may come out with a new challenge or they may have that lightbulb moment, when they fully understand something. This moment is priceless and this is what teaching is all about.
It was announced today that I had made the top 10 and all I can say is that I am absolutely shocked and a huge thank you goes out to the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad and Sunny Varkey for highlighting the importance of teaching as a profession. It’s been an amazing opportunity and I’m looking forward to establishing networks with many new teachers. Thank you.
In a video message, Prince Harry paid tribute to the work of teachers around the world on the day the top ten finalists were announced. Prince Harry said:
“In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, the very best teachers go beyond the pages of textbooks to teach young people about determination, aspiration, resilience and compassion. We will all face setbacks and challenges in our lives and our teachers play a vital role in preparing us for these ups and downs.
“The finalists for this year’s Global Teacher Prize are from every corner of the world – from the Canadian Arctic to Kenya and Pakistan. But there’s one thing they all have in common – they spark curiosity within a child and nurture the dreams that can change our world for the better.
“I would like to end by congratulating all of the finalists; you are not just exceptional teachers, you are the role models who support, inspire and shape children’s lives. Your work is so important; I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say that you are shaping the future”.
I thoroughly believe that the teachers of today are what will shape the future. We need to encourage these pupils to grow and to lead lives where they can accomplish so much more. These students are going to be the people who are around on this planet, long after us. Being a teacher is a great way to leave a foot print. The Varkey foundation are supportive a great cause by encouraging more people to get into the profession. I love that they’re also showing the importance of teachers in society. Our pupils are what will make a difference. Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of that?
In the press, there always appears to be negative press about teachers and the workload that we have but I’m actually here to say that teaching is a profession that is rewarding in more ways than one. Although many people can criticize the practice for it’s workload, it’s important to know that this isn’t always true. I support teachers and understand where the workload can come from, but here are some tips to make things a little easier: –
- Establish quick email lists or protocols with parents. These can be pre-written post cards which acknowledge the work that students are doing.
- Marking – Overtime, build up slides with criteria on which allow you to write down numbers instead of the feedback. Students can record their feedback using your PowerPoint slides. When you mark their work. It’s possible to write down the number and then you can get them to write down the criteria which they should work on. This can cut down marking time – tweet me @lanky_boi_ray for more information.
- Networking – Have regular TeachMeets with other teachers. Look at other teachers on Twitter – They share good practice and some of this can make your life a lot easier.
- Students – Talk to your students – What is it that they find difficult? What would they like you to try for them?
I thank God each day that I fell into teaching by accident. It was my plan to be a computer programmer. After 6 weeks into a university placement, I was made redundant due to the company being taken over. This was a major blow to me and I found a last minute placement in a school as a Network technician.
I established some friendships and enjoyed my time with students at this school. Upon completion of my degree, I returned to the school and they offered me a job. I trained on the job doing a joint GTP/PGCE and ended up loving teaching. I did my training through Nottingham Trent University and I can thoroughly recommend them as a route into teaching. Alternatively, find a teaching school or an alliance. The school that I currently work in has a Brooke Weston Teaching school. There are many different routes.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, but please keep your options open. Teaching is a rewarding profession and can help you grow.