World’s Best Teacher 2018

Andria Zafirakou has been awarded $1m dollars (£720,000) for winning the Global Teacher prize 2018 by The Varkey Foundation. But who is she and what makes her such a great teacher?

Andria works as an Arts and Textiles Teacher in Alperton Community School in Brent, North West London and she was presented with the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher prize in Dubai on Sunday 18th March. She said teachers in the UK work extremely hard, adding This award goes out to all of us.”


When asked what she would do with the prize money, she said:

“I’m going to be patient, I’m going to reflect, but as you know I think it would be really fantastic if I could think about how the arts could be celebrated even further within our school community.” 

“I have seen how the arts help students to communicate. The arts help to give so much confidence and really create incredible young people.”

What makes Andria Zafirakou such a great teacher?

Here are just two examples

  1. In an attempt to closer connect with her students, she learned basic phrases in her students’ mother tongues such as Hindi, Gujurati and Tumil
  2. She also visited many of her students’ homes in order to have a more in depth understanding of her students’ background.

“By getting pupils to open up about their home lives, I discovered that many of my students come from crowded homes where multiple families share a single property,” 

What’s next for Andria?

Zafirakou will receive $1m and be asked to serve as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation. She will be required to remain working as a classroom teacher for at least five years and will be paid the prize money in instalments.

A huge congratulations from all of us at Prospero Teaching! We, like Andria understand how valuable education is, so a massive well done to Andria for being such a wonderful representative of this vital and hugely important profession.

Looking to inspire the younger generation yourself? You can search our latest teaching roles here.

Stay on top of the latest teaching techniques and ensure your teaching is the best it can be with our free, accredited CPD courses, some of which you can take online and others in person – view our latest courses.

What do you think makes a fantastic teacher? What part do you think art can play in the development of young people? We’d love you to share your thoughts here with the Prospero community.