I am a firm believer that sometimes symbolic acts are required to shift debate, to open people up to thinking in new ways and to get momentum and progress where previously there has been inertia. Time will tell whether Mr Sunny Varkey of the Varkey Foundation has achieved such a paradigm shift through the Global Teacher Prize with it’s media-attention-grabbing $1 million prize.
There were over 5,000 entrants from all over the world. They were whittled down to a long list of 50 and then the short list of 10 finalists who appeared on the stage for the prizegiving on Sunday at the Atlantis Hotel, Dubai. The profiles and perspectives of all ten finalists made very inspiring reading. Every one of them would have represented a worthy winner and the very best of what our profession can be in terms of educators who look at their work from the perspective of furthering human potential at the individual and collective level.
The final 10 included my incomparable friend, Kiran Sethi from Ahmedabad, India. Anyone who has ever spent time at her Riverside School knows exactly why kiran was there and how richly deserving.
In the end, the winner was from the US, Nancie Atwell, who for over 40 years has helped to inspire young people to be effective readers and writers. Her acceptance speech was simple, modest and humble, but carried important messages for every educator.
Nancie Atwell – Teacher Prize Winner
(Click on the link to open the page. Nancie’s acceptance speech video is on the right side of the page)
We are indeed privileged.