Alperton teacher Andiria Zafirakou wins $1m 'best in the world' award

Alperton teacher Andiria Zafirakou wins $1m 'best in the world' award

Alperton teacher Andiria Zafirakou wins $1m 'best in the world' award

Andria Zafirakou is an arts and textiles teacher at Brent's Alperton Community School in North-West London, one of UK's most deprived areas.

Ms. Zafirakou, who is of Greek origin, said: "Whatever is missing from the lives of the school's pupils, or causing them pain, our school is there for them".

Ms Zafirakou has learnt how to say basic greetings in numerous 35 languages spoken at the school, including Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil and Portuguese, to help parents feel welcome and included. She also redesigned the curriculum to gear it more toward her students and started a girls-only sports club.

After receiving congratulations from British PM Theresa May, she talked about the youngsters she teaches.

At the same time, some of her pupils are exposed to gang violence with the borough having the second highest murder rate in the UK. In her own classes, she helps students confront and cope with the challenging situations they may face at home through the making of art.

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Mrs May, in a video message broadcast at the gala event, said: "Being a great teacher requires resilience, ingenuity, and a generous heart".

This included learning basic greetings in numerous 35 languages spoken at the school, including Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, and Portuguese, to help parents feel welcome and included.

Zafirakou, who is the only United Kingdom teacher to win the award in its four-year history, told reporters: "I was shocked".

Ms Zafirakou introduced an "artist in residence", who helps the students on a technical level, but also offers an outlet for what can be challenging and hard home circumstances.

In a glitzy ceremony on Sunday at Atlantis, The Palm, Zafirakou was awarded the prize by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler. These are the qualities that you share with your students every day.

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Sunny Varkey, whose foundation set up the annual worldwide teacher prize, said he wanted to "inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession".

"So thank you for all you have done and continue to do", she said.

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'Discovering all this prompted me to organise additional provision within the school day and often at weekends to help students have the opportunity to progress.

The other finalists at this year's ceremony were from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey and the US.

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