BrandArena: English Teacher Wins $1 million Global Teacher Prize after 42 years of work

Tuesday 17 March 2015

English Teacher Wins $1 million Global Teacher Prize after 42 years of work

Dubai was once again the centre of attention as the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize was awarded on Sunday, in presence of dignitaries across the world that gathered to honour great teachers.
Nancie Atwell from Edgecomb, Maine, received the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize from former President Bill Clinton during a presentation ceremony in Dubai on Sunday. Image credit:
An English teacher from rural Maine Atwell won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize after 42 years of work as an innovator and pioneer in teaching literature.

Atwell won the award based on her unique approach to literacy, having written several highly praised books on teaching over the years. Nancie Atwell plans to donate the full amount to a school she herself has founded, the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine. The school says 97 percent of its graduates have gone on to university.

Atwell said that winning the award is a valedictory for her life's work, but that her true validation comes from the responses of students.

"I really find that I'm validated every day just by the experiences I have with children in the classroom," she told The Associated Press after receiving the award.

The top 10 finalists, which included two other teachers from the U.S. and others from Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Cambodia, Malaysia, Kenya, and the U.K., were flown to Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the ceremony. The winner was announced on stage by Sunny Varkey, founder of the non-profit Varkey Foundation that focuses on education issues and founder of the for-profit GEMS Education company that has more than 130 schools around the world.

The award was created to be the largest prize of its kind and to serve as a sort-of Nobel Prize for one exceptional teacher each year.

Varkey said that the award is aimed at fostering that kind of admiration for teachers and to say "to a celebrity-obsessed world that teachers are important and worthy of respect."

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is honorary chair of the Varkey Foundation, were also on-hand to give Atwell the award.

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