🤳 Selfie time with the winner of the 2018 Global #TeacherPrize, @Andriazaf 🇬🇧, plus @Trevornoah and friends! #GESF @priyankachopra @LewisHamilton @CharlizeAfrica @IAMJHUD @RedOne_Official @algore @sunnyvarkey_ @Mo_Farah pic.twitter.com/zMYq9MfqJe— Global Teacher Prize (@TeacherPrize) March 18, 2018
At a star-studded gala more fitting for Hollywood royalty than a teacher's event, an educator from England won the prestigious Global Teacher Prize for 2018, which just happens to comes with a trophy – and $1 million dollars. No biggie.
Recipient, Andria Zafirakou, was one of 30,000 applicants and the top ten finalists that were at the event Sunday night.
She's an arts and textiles teacher at the Alperton Community College of Brent, an ethnically diverse, inner-city school in London.
She won for several outstanding reasons: First, she took on the task of working in a town known for its high ratio of gang violence and the impoverished homes the students come from. Something that could certainly make teaching there daunting and intimidating.
But Andria refused to be threatened. Instead, she took matters into her own hands, working closely with police to identify gang recruiters and dealing personally with any other potential issues that arose, reported Arab News.
She also restructured the school's curriculum to better accommodate the ethnic diversity of its students. While doing that, she has attempted to learn a few phrases from the 35 languages spoken at her school so to better communicate with students and parents alike.
Arguably, the best part is, she worked on the school's timetable in order to make time for a girls-only sport in a conservative community where young females didn't stand a chance to feed their athleticism. In fact, her girls-only cricket team won a cup, proving that she was right to push for girls' sports all along.
Her efforts led to Alperton Community College being in the top five percent in England and Wales for improving pupils' achievement, according to Arab News.
The star-studded gala was in a league of its own. Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum handed her the trophy and later Tweeted that teaching "is the greatest job," also describing teachers as "stars."
British Prime Minister Theresa May also said in a video message that was broadcasted at the gala: Being a great teacher requires resilience, ingenuity, and a generous heart. These are the qualities that you share with your students every day. So thank you for all you have done and continue to do."
Highlights included: Trevor Noah, the MC of the event, and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson, who sang "Hallelujah" at the event. Lewis Hamilton delivered the trophy, and Charlize Theron was also one of the guests. All that, plus footballer Dwight Yorke, comedian Rory Bremner, Suits stars Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres, actress Priyanka Chopra, Olympian Mo Farah, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and so SO many more. Many of them were part of the preceding Global Education and Skills Forum.
I mean …
On the red carpet, Trevor Noah told Kris Fade from Virgin Radio that he believed teachers were like "rock stars" and should be treated as such. He also mentioned his Business and Economic teacher, who he said "taught him about money when he had none."