Greek Cypriot Brotherhood hosts an evening with Andria Zafirakou MBE
With a full house of teachers and members of the community, the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood proudly hosted the 2018 winner of the Global Teacher Prize, Andria Zafirakou, for a fireside chat with its Vice-President, Christos Karaolis.
Andria Zafirakou spoke about her inspiration to go into teaching, recalling that from a young age she had always imagined what her classroom would look like and how she’d teach her lessons. She said that her classroom was her “happy place”, saying that teachers are able to have such a significant impact on the next generation. Asked about her advice for new teachers, she said it was important to connect with students on a personal level, make the classroom an inspirational learning environment and demonstrate a kindness and energy that allows students to leave any troubles they may be facing at the classroom door.
Andria described her shock and surprise at winning the Global Teacher Prize in 2018, given there were 33,000 entrants. She said that she was using the platform that this had given her to change education for the better, including establishing her Charity Artists in Residence to inspire young minds to explore pathways and progressions to a career within the creative and cultural industries.
Andria also said that following her award she had published two books. Describing her most recent book “Lessons in Life”, Andria said that the interviews she had conducted with 30 of the best teachers in the world had been an inspirational opportunity. She said that the common thread that unites all the people she interviewed is a passion for education, a creativeness to tailor lessons to the mediums that appeal to young people and being “slightly maverick”.
Asked about her next career step Andria said that from September she would be taking up a new role as Vice Principal at a Special Educational Needs school in Camden. Having spent 18 years at Alperton Community College, Andria said she is excited about this new challenge to work with fabulous children at a school that has been rated outstanding by Ofsted 7 times.
Asked about the role that Ofsted plays in education she said that it can put unnecessary stress on teachers and leadership teams. Andria went on to say that whilst an educational standards review body is definitely needed, the focus should be more supportive and developmental for schools.
Also in attendance was the Deputy Mayor Barnet, Councillor Tony Vouros and Councillor Pauline Coakley-Webb, Portfolio Holder for Family Friendly Barnet.