What Does It Mean to Be the Best Teacher?
All of us know what it means to be a student. You go to school, do your homework assignments, take tests and exams, and spend time with your friends. Some subjects are more interesting for you; the others seem too difficult and sometimes boring. However, not everyone shares your interests. You might hate biology with every single piece of your body, and your best friend thinks biology is the best subject ever. There are different reasons why one dislikes a particular subject: one might not have the necessary abilities to succeed in a subject or one might just be in bad terms with the teacher.
Being a teacher requires a big talent, love for children, and, of course, a lot of patience. Nevertheless, quite often it happens that a teacher possesses all these characteristics, but some students love this teacher, and the others find him/her dull and boring. Are there teachers who find a place in the hearts of all their students? Are there such professionals that make everybody love their subject and enjoy coming to school every day? The answer is yes, absolutely, and such teachers are awarded with the Best Teacher prize in every country.
The Global Teacher Prize
The Global Teacher Prize was established in 2014 by the Varkey Foundation in order to support and improve the quality and importance of teaching. This Prize is called the ‘Nobel Prize’ of teaching because it recognizes those professionals who made the biggest contribution to the field of education. This Prize is only given to those teachers who work with children between the ages of five and eighteen.
So, how are these teachers evaluated? What are the most important criteria? First of all, teacher’s achievements have to be recognized by their students, colleagues, and members of the larger community. This means, that every other Teacher Award, every single academic publication, and, of course, students’ and other teacher’s testimonials will be taken into account. Secondly, the teacher who gets the Global Teacher Prize will be the one who introduced new, innovative techniques to improve his/her students’ knowledge and skills. Besides, this teacher’s students have to demonstrate an outstanding performance in the classroom. Next, you have to be an active member of your community to become the best teacher; you could give talks and hold seminars – everything that makes a difference. You also need to encourage people to choose a teaching profession; you are the one who motivates the members of your community and makes teaching and education even important and valuable. Connecting with schools abroad and organizing various exchange programs to help your students become global citizens is a must. Make sure to do all of the above – and apply for the Global Teacher Prize that give the best teacher one million dollars. Yes, to do that you have to be more than just brilliant – you have to be the best.
The Teacher of the Year Award in the Russian Federation
Every year since 1990, a committee of professionals has been choosing the best teacher among the greatest professionals across the huge country. The contest is held by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and consists of three stages. First, on their website or blog the contestants have to upload their unique innovative teaching materials which they apply in the classroom in order to achieve the best possible results. Then teachers need to make a presentation about their professional experience as a result of interaction with colleagues, students’ parents, different organization, members of their community, etc. The contestant will also have to demonstrate their teaching abilities in the classroom and to show how they can interact with children and their parents by discussing important issues with them. This was the first stage. The second stage includes a seminar that the teacher has to hold and a discussion of a problematic issue with other contestants and members of different communities. The third stage is a conversation between the contestants, the Minister of Education, and other politicians. The winner of the contest becomes an advisor of the Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation for one year.
There is a variety of prizes that are meant to recognize the most outstanding teachers. Some of them are global and national awards and some of them were established by universities and different organizations. In this post we mentioned only two awards – our goal was to demonstrate that there are different ways to evaluate best teachers. The condition is the same: the teacher has to be innovative, extremely interested in his/her field, and he or she must not be afraid of going global.
Why are Best Teacher Awards so important today? First of all, these awards make it clear what teachers are supposed to do to bring up a new generation of talented, enthusiastic people. They demonstrate that it is possible to achieve the highest possible goals in teaching and to help students shine. These prizes are inspiring and motivating. Every teacher would want to win a 1 million dollar prize, but only the best professionals deserve it. The winners are fearless; they aim at going beyond their capabilities, and they manage to do that. After all, the profession of a teacher is one of the most important in the world because teachers help further generations grow and develop and become active members of the global community. Being a teacher is an art.