Finding the World’s Greatest Teacher
Who really is the world’s greatest teacher? The Global Teacher Prize Committee tries to decide this monumental task each year. Each annual winner receives one million dollars. That’s a one followed by six zeros.
I came “tantalizingly close” to winning this award in 2020. (And if I won I was on record as going to donate every dime to various children’s causes here in Bristol.)
I was anonymously nominated for this unique prize, then subsequently advanced through several stages to get as far as having a Zoom interview with a panel of rather distinguished people in London - the Global Teacher Prize Committee. I had survived the first three “cuts”, winnowing out most of the thirty thousand or so teachers who had originally been nominated for this prestigious prize worldwide. I was now facing the next to the last cut, the one that would determine the “top 50” teachers in the world as determined by the Committee.
The first three cuts involved quite a long process. Letters from many an ex-student were requested. No, not so many from ex-administrators. The Committee wanted to hear evidence straight from “the horse’s mouth”, so to speak. They knew that no one is more qualified - nor is anyone more inclined - to simply tell the unvarnished truth regarding teachers as are those who have interacted directly with them daily as their students.
At the time of my international interview I had only Skyped once in my life. And I had never before Zoomed. Therefore, my interview with representatives of the Committee was not my best - at least in technical terms. On my home computer I could get the sound to work, but not the visual. The interview was supposedly going to last twenty minutes, but Committee representatives spoke with me for thirty. I took that, at least, as a good sign. Then again, perhaps they just enjoyed listening to my very authentic Appalachian speech and dialect, a sound which no representative on the Committee, by their own account, had ever laid an ear toward before.