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And the nominees are… Thoughts on Global Teacher Prize

By | english, English, Flip the System, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The final 10 nominees are in and they’re a wonderful choice. Of course I would be deluding myself if I wasn’t hoping for a spot among the shortlist of 10 nominees. Yes, I was disapointed. The closer you get the more you think that maybe, just maybe, there might be a chance that….  But I’m very glad for the 10 nominees and I’m glad that there is a Global Teacher Prize and it was already a huge honour to be amongst the 50 nominees. It sheds a spotlight on the wonderful work teachers are doing and the wonderful job we have working with children. All of the 50 nominated teachers are a bigger advert than any government agency can come up with (In the Netherlands these campaigns are exceedingly dull and lame) Each and everyone of them is showing what teaching is about: inspiration, opportunities, creativity. Who wouldn’t want to work in an environment like that? On the other hand the teaching profession is undervalued and plagued by many and similar issues worldwide. Teachers are valued individually, but as a profession we’re not. That really needs to change and the Teacher Prize is one step in that direction.

On the other hand we shouldn’t just rely on others awarding us an honour. It would be an empty gesture in itself if we do not also proudly claim discretionary space for our own. We’re not the role models that students deserve if we do not act accordingly. These wonderful 49 nominees are already doing that. Tom Bennet who is a role model and inspiration of how teachers should relate to research in eduation and who steadily working on an international Researched network. Cesar Bona is a focal point for educational reform in Spain and an inspiration for teachers in Latin America. And if the educational system is not doing the children justice you start your own schools like Elisa Guerra Cruz in Mexico.  Everyone has so many innovative teaching practises to share, from Vese Vesela Bogdanovic and her literally magical teaching experiences to Cameron Patterson, whose history  teaching practices are giving me food for thought.

Personally I already knew some of the teachers in the top-50. Tom is contributing to our new book. I’ve met Noah Zeichner in Canada at a teacher leadership conference. I’ll meet Jeff Charboneau at the International Summit on the Teaching Profession where we’ll be both making the case for teacher leadership. And both Jeff, Noah, Nancy Barile and I are already part of the Centre for Teacher Quality. Hopefully I’ll meet Mark Reid when he comes over to visit his family in the Netherlands. And I’m sure I’ll meet Mareike Hachemer soon, since she lives just around the corner (relatively speaking). But distance shouldn’t be a problem any more since we are all connected on-line. New information technology is allowing us to level not only institutional, but also national boundaries.

Now we’re also part of the Varkey Teachers Ambassadors Programme. I’m proud to be part of a growing international teacher network which will shape the future of education. Through their work these 49 teachers are already making a case for teacher led educational reform. How can we not give more responsibility and recognition to teachers if this is just a small sampling of what’s going on worldwide?

I wish the 10 nominees all the best in the world and I’ll conclude with these wonderful words of Dutch secretary of Education Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sander Dekker. Educational reform should be a combined effort of all parties involved. No matter how difficult that is sometimes, I think that is what we’re doing in the Netherlands.

Dear Jelmer ,  

What a pity that you have not reached the top 10 of The Global Teacher Prize. We would have supported such an honor awarded to you wholeheartedly. As for us , you have already earned it! But you will undoubtedly get over the disappointment quickly, because you have every reason to be proud of yourself. After all, according to the jury you already belong to the fifty best teachers in the world, and there is no teacher in the Netherlands who can repeat that!  

Therefore continue in the way that characterizes you: as an inspiring and motivating teacher for your students and therefore a role model for your colleagues. That way you can ensure that our education gets even better.  And then many more Dutch teachers will enter the top 50 of The Global Teacher Prize !  

With regards,

Jet Bussemaker

Sander Dekker

Beste Jelmer,

Wat jammer dat je niet bent doorgedrongen tot de top 10 van The Global Teacher Prize. We hadden je zo’n ereplaats van harte gegund. Wat ons betreft heb je die ook verdiend! Maar je zult ongetwijfeld snel over de teleurstelling heen komen, want je hebt alle reden om trots op jezelf te zijn. Volgens de jury behoor je immers tot de vijftig beste leraren ter wereld, en er is geen docent in Nederland die je dat na kan zeggen!

Blijf daarom vooral doorgaan op de manier die we van je kennen: als inspirerende en motiverende docent voor je leerlingen en daarmee ook als rolmodel voor je collega’s. Op die manier kun jij ervoor zorgen dat ons  onderwijs nóg beter wordt. En dan komen er nog veel meer Nederlandse leraren in de top 50 van The Global Teacher Prize!

Met vriendelijke groet,

Jet Bussemaker

Sander Dekker

(Well since I’m now free to do so I can now endorse my favourite teachers: Phalla Neang and Azizullah Royesh will hopefully both win!  🙂 I’m in awe of their achievements)