Askwith Forum: Global Teacher Prize Winner – Andria Zafirakou

Askwith Forum: Global Teacher Prize Winner – Andria Zafirakou


(audience chattering) – [Woman] These are fine. (woman speaking faintly) – Good afternoon everybody. – [Audience] Good afternoon. – My name is Steve Seidel. I’m the Bauman and Bryant Senior Lecturer in the Arts in Education
and the Faculty Director of the Arts in Education master’s program here at HGSE. It’s my pleasure to welcome you here to the first Askwith Forum
of this academic year. (audience applauds) And I’d also like to welcome all those who have joined us via livestream, it’s great to have you with us. Today’s Askwith Forum is being held in conjunction with MIT Open Learning. Their mission is to transform
teaching and learning at MIT and around the globe through the innovative use
of digital technologies. So I’d like to make a special welcome to students and colleagues from MIT. It’s great to have you here. (audience applauds) I’m delighted that today we will hear and learn from Andria Zafirakou, the 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner. But before I introduce Andria
a little bit more formally, I’d like to say a few words
about the Askwith Forums, and those who are joining
us here for the first time. The Askwith Forums bring
leaders in the education field to our campus to share knowledge, experience, and insights. This forum was established to strengthen the intellectual
life of the school through the exchange of ideas,
through lively conversation and through debate. They are also a great
way to open our doors to welcome members of the
larger Harvard community and the general public. So in that spirit, I would
like to especially extend a special welcome to all those here today from the broader larger community. I’m also realizing that many
of you are students here for the first time. This is your first Askwith Forum, welcome. It’s great to have you here. Last year, for example,
more than 200,000 people joined us on campus and online for 14 of the forums that we had here. This year, in addition to tonight’s forum on the power of the arts in education and what it means to be a global educator, our fall lineup includes forums on the Global Pursuit
for Equity and Inclusion and Collaborative Action in Education. Some of the guest speakers this year will include Michael Sandel, the political philosopher and professor of the celebrated Harvard Justice Course, the former Deputy Minister
of Education for Colombia, Luis Garcia de Brigard, and Michael McAfee, the CEO of PolicyLink, and most importantly, write it down, in light of the upcoming midterm elections and Harvard’s participation in
the Harvard Votes Challenge, I invite each and every one of you to join us on Monday October 1st for a session called Your Vote Counts, Education, Voting and the Midterms. That panel, that forum, will
be moderated by Paul Reville. It will feature a panel with
the Ed School’s Meira Levinson, Archon Fung from the
Harvard Kennedy School and the former mayor of
Newton Massachusetts, Setti Warren, who is
now executive director of the Shorenstein Center at
the Harvard Kennedy School. So please come to that. Please register to vote. Please make sure you do vote. For more information on these forums and any of the other Askwith Forums, please visit our website, it’s all there. Okay, now back to our
reason for being here today. It’s a great honor to welcome the winner of the Global Teacher Prize here at HGSE. This is an annual $1 million prize. It was launched in 2014
by the Varkey Foundation. It recognizes an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her profession. This year the Global Teacher Prize received more than 30,000
nominations and applications. The success of the Global Teacher Prize has inspired countries around the world, this is just in a few years remember, to set up their own
awards to find and honor their best teachers. Today there are over 40
national teacher prizes in countries all around the world from Latin America to
Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The goal of the prize
is to raise the stature of the teaching profession. The Foundation believes
that the status of teachers in our cultures is critical
to our global future. I heartily agree and I
suspect many of you here today share that belief as well. We are delighted that Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Cate Noble, CEO of
the Varkey Foundation are here this evening, with other members of their team as well. It’s wonderful to have
you here on Appian Way. Please join me right now in
thanking the Varkey Foundation and its visionary founder, Sunny Varkey, for their efforts in
recognizing and celebrating the impact of teachers on their students, their communities, their
countries, and the world. (audience applauds) Andria Zafirakou, the
winner of this year’s Global Teacher Prize, is an
arts and textiles teacher from North West London. She has worked her entire
teaching career of 12 years at the Alperton School, the
Alperton Community School, in the London Borough of Brent, where she is now Associate
Deputy Headteacher, leading staff professional development. Brent is one of the most
ethnically diverse places in the United Kingdom,
with 130 languages spoken in its schools. In a moment we will hear from Andria about her work at Alperton
and the impact she has made in that school and in that community, and why she believes that art needs to be, as her title suggests, at
the heart of the education of every child, both in the curriculum and in the daily life
of the school itself. Andria now has an opportunity
to make even broader impact as the 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner. For me, it is always a great pleasure to be in dialogue with classroom teachers and educators who spend every day of their professional lives in schools, to learn how they
understand their purposes, how they approach challenges
and opportunities, how they create community in schools, how they collaborate
with their colleagues, parents, and others, and
especially what they’ve learned from their students. In my experience it’s through
the relentless pursuit of quality and equity over many years of daily life in schools that
the most important insights and innovations in
educational practice emerge. We have a wonderful opportunity for such a conversation this afternoon. So here’s how we’re going
to proceed from here. Andria will come up and will share with us a bit about her her life, her work, her teaching, her school. I will then join her a little bit later and we’ll have a conversation. And before we need to wrap up for the day, I will turn to you all, open it up, and ask you for thoughts and questions. How’s that sound? – Great.
(audience murmuring) – Do we have a plan? (audience murmuring) – Okay, please join me in a very warm and hearty congratulations and welcome to Andria Zafirakou. (audience applauds) – Thank you Steve. (laughs) Thank you, (speaking faintly). – [Steve] And this is for you. – Thank you, and I think
this is for me as well. Hello, good afternoon
everyone, how are you? (audience murmuring) – Yeah, first of all,
students are in this room who are just about to take their midterms, who should be studying, but
are here today, thank you. I will try not to let you down or to bore you to death. But, as Steve said, my
name is Andria Zafirakou, and I’ve actually been
teachin’ there for 13 years, September was my 13th year at my school, Alperton Community School. And believe it or not,
I am an art teacher, a textiles teacher, and
also this year’s holder of the Varkey Foundation’s
Global Teacher Prize, and I still have to pinch myself because that’s quite an
extraordinary achievement. So this is what happened to me. So, in March this year, I attended an awards ceremony in Dubai, whereby I was voted alongside 10 other spectacular human beings who are teachers in their own communities
all over the world. And I was nominated as one of the top 10 out of quite a few other nominations. And I won, and I’m still pinchin’ myself because there’s no way in this world I would’ve ever believed
that could be possible. I mean, an art teacher. I mean, okay, STEM definitely, science absolutely, but art? What is going on? But yet here I am and I’m privileged, terrified but privileged. Because this is now something that is beginning to plant some seeds in people’s heads. Say, well, hang on a minute, there’s something going on
in our world about the arts. We need them, our children need them and I think I believe
I’m in the right place in the right moment to
tell you why we need them, ’cause I work in a school
whereby I see every single day how the arts transform lives. And as art educators, and can
I just have a show of hands, who is an arts, oh lovely. Okay, my people, right wonderful. (audience laughs) So we know how important our jobs are, and if you don’t know I
am telling you right now, you have got the most
incredible job in the world. Remember that, ’cause we’re gonna have very difficult days in our schools, and we have had very
difficult days in our schools, and we are fighting against
sometimes curriculums and leaderships who don’t
think the arts are important. But we know they are, and they will remain because you are in that position. And together we’ll make
sure we get it locked down. Is that right? No, no, no, is that right? – Yeah.
– There you go. Thank you very much, come on. Okay so let me take you
on a journey to my school. So these are my kids,
these are my students, and I absolutely adore
workin’ in my school. As Steve said to you I work in a school, has approximately 1,500 students. The age range that I teach
art to is 11 years old to 18 and so we have that, we
call that Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 5,
back at home in the UK. When I grew up I had art
in my blood, it was there. I was very creative all the time, but I had a problem and my problem was that when I had to decide
what my GCSE options were, which was when you choose what
subjects you’d like to do, my parents, being beautiful
and amazing as they are, could not understand what
the arts could help me to do in terms of getting a career. So I would have my parents
say, Andria, don’t, don’t, no, not, go history, geography, that is a, do not take the arts, what jobs. So I am actually quite fortunate because I am now able to
provide that same support to my children, because
my children in my school, they have that same situation whereby they are growin’ in a society whereby, again, the arts aren’t valued from external sources. They know, they feel it. It’s in them. They wanna take the subject, they need it, but they feel that they can’t, they’re not allowed to. So again, it’s something that
we need to be very mindful as arts educators here, that
we need to try and find a way to make sure that we communicate this to our society as well. So there they are, my children. I teach 12 classes, or last
year I taught 12 classes, and in a range, just give you an example, I would have students
with a reading age of 15 if they are 12 years old, so quite gifted, and then I’d have students
with a reading age of about seven and they were the same age. So it’s a very diverse community, extremely diverse and that is what brings the magic into the
classroom, absolute magic. ‘Cause what we’re doing, we
are learning from each other. We are helping each other. We are leading the way for each other. We are collaborating,
we’re supporting each other and we are teams. In my classroom we are all a team. Nobody is leading, we
are all working together. So these, I’m gonna show you some slides of some student work. Now these are from students
who are 14 years old, and I want to ask you a question, and it’s a quiz and I
only do hands up (laughs) so please raise your hands, but which one do you
think from these students, and there are two boys here. Who do you think has dyslexia, dyspraxia? Who has ADHD, and who has got social and health problems? Would it be the piece
of artwork on the left or the piece of artwork on the right? So hands up if you think it’s
the one on the left please. Don’t be shy. Okay, hands down. How ’bout on the right? Oh, that’s really interesting. Well, they both do. You wouldn’t believe that would you? No, and this is what’s quite phenomenal, I have got the pleasure, the privilege, of meeting students who
have got so many labels that you won’t even believe. They’ve either got, they’ve got EAL, so English as an additional language, which means they can’t actually access an English curriculum. They may have dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, what else, so many different complex special needs. But yet when they are in the art room, in the safe environment, they don’t have any of those labels. They don’t have any of those labels. Do you know what that means? That means that they feel they can achieve in the arts, and not just in art, as in painting and drawing, but in music and in drama and in media. And this is the power of the arts. The arts give the students the opportunity to be merged in a world to
explore their creativity, to feel confidence, to feel challenge. Now, and if you were to ask
a 13 or a 14-year-old now, try that, no Miss, I’m
gonna make a mistake, try it, I’m gonna make a mistake. They’re too frightened of making mistakes. They’re too frightened to
show themselves up with peers. I’m loving how many of
you are nodding this, ’cause you know this, right? And we would never, nobody would want to be a teenager anymore
would they? (laughs) Not in this day and age. But that’s what our poor
children are facing. They are facing a world
whereby they’re too frightened and the arts are the subjects which helped to build that resilience, which enables them to love
failing and getting up. Love trying again, love experimenting, love exploring and love the fact that, yes, I want to take a risk and see where it goes. And for me, what I completely
feel really privileged is when we have those
breakthrough moments. Whereby recently, I’ll tell you a story about this chap I teach called Tom. Now Tom, bless him, he’s 12 years old and he is more or less,
more outside the classrooms being told off than he
is inside the classrooms. He finds it very difficult
working with other students. He finds it very difficult
being in an environment where he has to quickly adapt. Tom can’t write and yet he’s 12 years old. But my God he can paint. Tom can paint. And when one day, which was wonderful, and I’ll never forget this. I think for me, after a lesson I went home and I just was like, oh my
God, started crying. (laughs) But Tom, we were handing out work, so I was, okay whose work is this? Okay so this is de Peche’s work, so what can we celebrate
about de Peche’s work? And, oh Miss he’s done
this, he’s done this. And then I raise Tom’s work. So whose work is this? And then, no, sorry, I beg your pardon, I said, right, who, let’s
have a look at this work. And I was trying to find the name, whose work is this? And then the children were just saying, oh Miss, look, that is really nice, look. Oh I like the way he painted, or I like the way he drew the shapes, or I like the way he’s managed to capture the artist’s influence. And this is, what, guys,
whose work is this? And then you just see Tom,
who was, at this time, the back of the class
where he likes being, raised his hand up like that. And the thing which captivated me was the fact that I didn’t say anything but the rest of the 30
students in that class cheered. They cheered for Tom. And for that moment,
that tiny little moment, his life has indeed changed. And I know it’s changed
because his math teacher, his science teacher, his
modern foreign language teacher comes up to me and says
to me, what has happened? What happened? And I said, no, no,
just, this has happened. And he goes, oh, he’s really working well, and he’s concentrating. He’s actually staying the
whole hour in the class. So, we must never underestimate the importance of the arts and how inclusive it is to everyone. However, we have got a situation which frustrates me, and I’ve heard it quite a lot this week. And that is, the value of STEM and the value of STEAM. Why are we categorizing our students? Why do we have to think that just because they feel they’re not creative, they abandon that automatically? Why do we, why are we doing that? Are we saying okay you’re good at science, that’s likely, so that’s your route. I think everyone is good at everything, but we have to try and unlock that. And teachers, that’s our job. We have to provide the
opportunities to do that. And so I’ve got this
piece of work on the wall ’cause it is quite confusing
and it’s quite complex, the fact that you never
know which way to turn. And the other thing which, again, is frustrating me, sorry
I’ve had quite a frustrating, no, I’ve had a brilliant week (laughs). But the other thing is the fact that I’m hearing the
words and this just hurts. Art provides soft skills, what? Soft skills, what does that mean? For me soft means weak. Are we weak? Do the arts give weak skills? I don’t think so. They give human skills. They give skills which our children need to succeed in society, to meet people, to have a conversation, to be able to think outside the box, to be able to be creative, to be able to be problem solvers. That’s what our subject provides. And I don’t think that’s soft at all, I think that is part, but also human. So I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting many teachers
all over the world this last five months,
and it’s been exciting. But I kind of know now why I am where I am and that’s an ambassador of teachers throughout the world. And it’s when I see things like this. So this is a Time
magazine article whereby, well, I don’t think I have to technically, I mean you’ve seen this right? Yeah, you’ve seen this, and
then I didn’t believe it. And so what I did was,
I had the absolute honor and the pleasure to visit a school from another Varkey teacher ambassador, so another teacher, in New York yesterday. And I spoke to her colleague,
I said look, I read this. Is this true? And they go, well yeah, when I finish here I’m gonna go and be a waitress. And when I finish here I’m
gonna go and be a valet. And I was blown away. What’s goin’ on? We need, as a society, to make sure that teachers are running
into our profession, not leaving it. We need to make sure that
we value our teachers because how many times are we hearin’ that teachers are going on strike? Why are they going on strike? This is, in my opinion, the best, the only profession there is, because what we do, we plant the seeds, we inspire, we grow, we nurture, every other profession. We are it people, we are the ones. So we need to make sure
that we raise our voices and we shout out loud
to whoever can hear us to make sure that we now
are valuing the teachers. Because unfortunately,
and I’m so sad about this, that not everyone can have
the incredible opportunity that I’ve had this year. I would love that to be the case but I don’t think that’s possible. So, please make sure that
you join me in doing this and also joining your other colleagues in supporting each other. We must achieve this, ’cause this, in my opinion, is unacceptable. And lastly I want to show you a story. So this is a incredible piece of artwork that happened three
weeks ago in my school. This student arrived when
they were 12 years old, so that was last year actually. They arrived from Serbia,
so they were refugees, and the journey was quite
extraordinary for them. So what happened was they
secretly had to flee the country. The British made a very, an
escape route for this family to come to the UK. And as a result, the
students attended my school. Now, these students went to school back at home. They can’t speak the language, but they are highly skilled individuals. And my concern is that we
sometimes get really worried, the fact that if they
can’t communicate with us and they can’t learn. And that my friends is why, another reason why the arts are magical. They’re magical simply because we don’t need language,
we don’t need words, ’cause we can create things like this, which speaks volumes. When I visited the school yesterday, I was invited to attend a music class and I think, again, that was
just, goosebumps everywhere. So the project was, the project was that there was a music teacher there and he wanted to collaborate
with other schools all over the world. And he built an orchestra
from four different countries. They got together, he designed the piece, he created the piece
and they all played it. And the students in the school
took part in that as well. My first question to them
was, how did it feel? You were working, what did you learn? And they said, Miss, what we learned was that it wasn’t about the
person behind the instrument, it was the fact that the
instrument was the talent. The instrument was that person. And I was really heart-struck by that because even at that young age we need to make sure that our voices, in terms of uniting our children, are one. It doesn’t matter what language you speak. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, how long you’ve been in the country, what matters is that we can all achieve, celebrate, and create magic
through the power of the arts. Thank you. (audience applauds) – [Andria] I believe I’m siting. – [Steve] Okay. – [Andria] Which way you shall sit? Okay, over here? – [Steve] Whichever. Thank You Andria. – [Andria] You’re welcome,
thank you for listening and thank you for staying. (laughs) – [Steve] So, I wanna start
by asking you two questions that relate to the prize and then we’ll go in some other directions. – [Andria] Okay. – The first question is, what was it like at the Alperton Community School the day you came back
after winning the prize. – Oh, awe. – What happened? – So when I arrived in the UK, (laughs) I won’t tell you what happened. They were waiting, my
class was, and teachers and my colleagues were waiting, some of them were waiting
at Heathrow Airport for me when I landed. And that was quite bizarre, because this was a seven
o’clock in the morning landing. Can you imagine getting
teenagers up at that mornin’ to get to Heathrow Airport? (audience laughs) And apparently, just listening
to all my colleague friends are like, oh my God, the
headteacher was going, he just couldn’t do it. (laughs) And it was going on, and
it was just beautiful. They were there waiting for me, and that was, that gave
me so much strength. ‘Cause at that time I was
kind of flagging a bit, and that gave me strength. And then I think when I actually got back to the school building,
that was really special because we had camera crew, and the students were there on parade, lining up and greeting me. But behind the double doors, and I shouldn’t say this ever, guys don’t ever quote this, because this is bad for a teacher, but I have.
– This is on livestream. – Oh, sod it, sod it. (laughs) (audience laughs) – Just wanted to make sure. – Okay, well I have a favorite class, so I have a favorite
class that I’ve grown, I’ve had them, luckily I’ve had them year after year for the last four years, and they came down from
the other school building, we’ve got two school buildings, and they knew I was comin’, so they came down and waited
behind the double doors. And then the moment I,
once the camera crew left, or I thought they left, I saw them, and then they’re like
(squeals), so I opened the doors and just ran to them, and that was wonderful. – Good, good. I don’t think anyone missed when I was doing the introduction that this is a prize that
comes with $1 million. Did anyone miss that? (audience laughs) Did anyone spend even a moment thinking, wow, what do you do? (audience laughs) My first moment was, that’s
a lot of art supplies. – Yeah. (audience laughs) – But Andria, you’ve now, you’ve been thinking about that a lot, and you’ve been making
some very important moves and I wonder if you could
share a bit about that. – So, can you remember when I said that I found it difficult to choose out, to be able to convince my parents that I wanna choose the arts, yeah? I think that one of the
reasons in my school and in many other schools, why the numbers of students
taking up the arts, and this is all of the
arts, is goin’ down, is because we are not exposing them or teachin’ them what it actually is by having artists meet with our students. And in some of our schools
it’s very difficult for us to take them to museums. I’m in London, I’m really lucky I can. However they don’t go to museums because they’re too frightened. It’s not their world. Why would they go on
a Saturday to a museum when they can be at home
playing on the Xbox? And the danger of that is that they’ve got so
much incredible culture that is there on their doorstep, that they’re not bein’ exposed to. So that is one part. And then we’ve got another part whereby our children aren’t
choosing ’em, the arts, because they don’t know
what the careers are like. They don’t know that they
could be so successful as a creative designer
and working backstage in a theatre company,
working in the film industry, working in the graphics department, working in jobs which
they haven’t even created but which are fundamental
for the arts subjects to be part of. So my calling is to make sure that we get the artists,
all artists, into schools to try and inspire our children. If we get one child out of 30, out of 40, out of a thousand, I don’t care, but that’s job done in my case. That child would now know
that there is a future, there is hope, there’s destiny, and that will then go back. Because they will then
go back to the school and say this is me, I had
to make that tough decision, this is what you need to do. – So how, so first of all, let me just say that when, in the years
that I was teaching in high schools in Boston, one of the things that
became very, very clear to me was that young people’s
ideas about careers in the theater, well I
was teaching theater, but in the arts generally, were wild guesses. Because they had not met people. – Yeah, exactly.
– Who’d made their lives that way. And if you’ve not had it, I began to feel that even more important
than going to a museum and seeing works of art
or going to a theater and seeing a play, was to meet the people who do this work themselves, to try to understand why and how they make their lives that way. What will, so what will
you be doing with this, with this money. – So I’ve set up a charity, which is called Artists in Residence. I’m still teaching, I’m
doing, working two days a week in my school, and my charity
is based in my school. I think my headteacher wanted
me to leave at that point, and it’s connecting schools with artists. So I have a pilot number
of schools in London, at the moment basing in London, it will then go universal, I guarantee it. And what we are doing
is we are matchmaking. So we are inviting artists to join us, and say I’m interested in
coming to do a small project with the school, with a group of students, or I might want to do an
assembly or vice versa. I will ask the school,
what is it you need? Do you have an issue in
your drama department? Are numbers going down? Do you need somebody to come in and do some technical
drawing for life drawing, or for architecture? What is it you need? And then matchmake it like that. So that at least we are
getting the professionals into the schools. And also I think, what’s
the benefit of this is that the actual teachers, the specialists in the schools
themselves will be learning. So we are also providing
professional development for the school. – [Steve] Yeah. – Yeah, so that’s what the,
that’s what the program is like and it’s so exciting. I mean, it’s so, it is fantastic. – You know, I, so that makes, for me, that makes perfect sense. I think that that’s a
very important thing to do and it’s made me, in thinking about how young people understand
how people make a choice to spend either their professional lives or just some part of their life. I mean I don’t feel that every
student that I’ve worked with needs to go become a professional actor, in fact that’s not the
right thing for many people. But to have the idea that
I can have creative work be part of my daily life, my weekly life, what I do in the times
that I control my time, seems an incredible gift and opportunity. But it got me thinking about how many children in math classes ever meet a mathematician? Or actually people who
do historical research, for their work? Or any of the other things
that we’re asked to study. – That’s right. – So I began to wonder whether the idea of the Artist in Residence,
which some people are worried it replaces the art teacher, I don’t think that’s what
you’re talking about. But whether this is actually a model for all of the disciplines, so that people can, young
people can actually understand what do human beings do.
– Yeah. – Like when that’s their daily life? – Because you’ll find that, as teachers, I have worked in industry
before, being a teacher. And I thought that was.
– Where was that? – I was a designer before I became, I decided to enroll into teaching, or that period I was gonna
enroll into teaching. And I think.
– Can I ask you, just about that, about being a designer? – Yeah, so when I
graduated from university, I was offered a job in the US. And that was, and it was a design job. And partly they had
London offices as well. Now I was absolutely determined to be one of those teachers,
even when I was young, who, ’cause I’m very
young now still obviously, Steve, right, yeah. (audience laughs) – Like me. – Yeah, absolutely. Who knew what they were gonna, what they were teaching about, who actually could say, look, this is what it was like as a designer. I had to do business with my customers, I had to keep a deadline, and
this was a production line that we have to do. And so I wanted to be able
to speak the language, so to give them clarity,
’cause if you’re teaching out of a textbook you’re
trying to teach a lesson, you need to make it real to them. And I think that was my
decision that I wanted to do, and it has really been beneficial
having that experience. But I do think also that it is vital that we introduce our
students to the real world. Bring the industries into our schools. Connect them, because our students need to have that vision. It can’t just be, right
I’m gonna be working towards my A-levels, and then
the next at universities, and then what? No, they need to, from the early ages, they need to start thinking,
that’s where I think I’m going. You way diverse, that’s okay,
that’s completely natural, that’s your destiny. But that’s where I need to go to. And I think the people who should do this is the industries themselves. – Yeah, so what happened? You were working as a designer? – Yeah. – And then, and that
seemed to be your path. – Yeah. – But then. – But then, but then, for the teaching, I missed the teaching application period. So I had to wait for, ’cause we have to, in the UK, you gotta apply
every, when the window opens to a certain university,
and there was one university I was going to go to, that was it. I was only gonna apply to
one, and that opened then and that’s what I did, so
I’ve managed to get into that which was very fortunate. So I had that year, and
I took that position. And yeah, and the rest is history. So once I graduated from
my teacher training course, I then applied to Alpertson. They had, I’ll never forget
this, it was hilarious. Applications started in January. So the job interviews went out in January and my interview was in February. So I went to my school and
it was an absolute dump. The art department was in the tower, which was over there. (laughs) So and my, the classroom I taught in, it was on the top floor. There was wind, the windows were broken, there was snow comin’ in,
the kids just came out from recess or break and
they brought snowballs into the classroom. It was, there wasn’t, paper
was hanging off the wall. The display was, oh God, centuries old. It was a very unloved, unkept room. And students had at that time
a really poor art experience. And so I remember going
into that classroom and I just saw all this, I
actually felt scared, (laughs) as missiles of snow flowing everywhere. I felt something like
that, let’s just do this and let’s just see what happens. And so I taught the lesson
and I will never forget this, I will never forget this. I thought that when I left that classroom, there’s no way I’m gonna
apply, I’m not gonna, I don’t wanna get a job here. Even if they offered it to
me, I’m not gonna take it. Oh God, I won’t survive. I started writin’ my will. And I’ll never forget those two girls at the end of the lesson, who I still keep in touch with actually, and who said to me, Miss,
are you going to stay here? Are you going to come back? Can you come back? – Right after the sample lesson? – Yeah, and so, how can you refuse that? They just needed to be inspired. They needed to have that
person to unlock the door. They just needed someone
to hold their hand and guide them. And that’s what happened. Those poor students in that classroom, well they were just
exposed to bad teaching after bad teaching, after poor teaching. And so after that I just thought yes, I’m gonna do this, throw my hands up, and it’s just been brilliant ever since. – But brilliant in your a
little corner of the school? Or has there really been a
transformation in the school, and if so? – Oh yeah, the art department is one of the highest achieving
departments in our school. We now, when we went in there originally, the curriculum we, and I say we, it’s because of myself and my colleague. I was lucky enough to
have another colleague start at the same time as me. So, two retired and then two went in, and we were newly qualified
teachers at that time. So we were fresh, were
like new fresh Alfs, teaching college, really excited, we’re gonna change the
world, right? (laughs) And we did, and we did, no, and it was. – As it turns out. – Yeah, we did, it was great. It was, we all just looked
at what resources were there and what was available at the time, and it was dry. Oh, you’re thinkin’ I probably would’ve used these worksheets
thousands of years ago. So we changed in slowly, slowly. The headteacher at that
time, the principal, she was really excited
that we were comin’ in and bringing new ideas and
fresh ideas into the school. Literally, she says, how much do you want? What do you need? And so we had a leader who understood and that’s the key. If you’re lucky enough to work in a school whereby your leadership has a vision, and you can buy into that vision and you know it’s gonna be a struggle, but you you keep on that same train going in that same
direction with your leader, that is half the job done. Because then you feel that
you’ve got the support mechanisms to grow, to develop, and
that’s what we’ve done. So we have, we’ve got lots of awards, the Artsmark Award in the school. We are, our results are always one of the best subjects in school. We’ve got the students being architects, being designers, even in a community where this is not, this is not ideal, where our students should be doing or studying other subjects, in English, maths and science, and going to be doctors, which is fine. But we achieved that. And so, yeah it’s great,
it’s a great fantastic team. – Okay, so you’ve just,
I’m gonna just keep. – Go on, keep it. – Peeling back a little bit around this kind of
transformation because, I think this is the concern that’s shared in many, many, many communities in many, many countries,
is how do we take schools that are not the spaces
that we all want them to be, and get them to another place. And you all were doing that from within. So I’m gonna just ask you a
couple of other questions. One, were there district
or national initiatives that were supporting
the work you were doing or were you working against district and national initiatives, or both? – At that time we didn’t know anyone doing what we wanted to do. There wasn’t that many, we
weren’t getting any information from universities and
information from museums. We didn’t know what was
out there for support. So we did everything ourselves. And I know that we’ve got
the issue whereby resources, where teachers are buying resources, but I was lucky enough to stay at home, live at home with my parents. So I was able to spend a lot of money buying my resources for my students. And I didn’t begrudge
that, ’cause I thought, this will be great. I wanted them to have such
an incredible art experience, because I knew that they were having tough experiences in
the rest of the school. They need to have somethin’
they can come into, a world they can come into
whereby they could be creative, they can enjoy, explore,
just be in their own world. And I was happy to do that. – But when you say we, the entire faculty? You and your colleague and the principal? Who’s the we that was making this happen? – Well, I’m quite bossy. (Steve and audience laughs) I’m quite bossy, I’m quite driven. I have had the best of
everything in my arts education. Where I went to high
school it was a great, it was fantastic, I was very lucky enough to go to a great high school, and I can still remember that. There was so much money in that school and they had arts materials
coming out of every pore, every cupboard, and I
knew that I enjoyed that. I knew I enjoyed bein’ exposed to that. So I wanted to try and recreate that. And I am such a believer of sharing and giving to others, so I would, whatever work I would do, I
would say to my colleague, this is what I’m doing. And then he would learn to be, all right, this is what I’m doing. And so we would, we started,
we were a great team which can always collaborate. And when you are working in department and luckily enough my department is four people strong, but
when you’ve got a department whereby you’re constantly in dialogue and working with each other, and you’re not in your own silo, then you feel like you
can experiment and explore and it’s not just always you deciding, and you reinventing the wheel. That you have got support. – Right, you’ve got
support with your team. – Yeah, absolutely. – But also critically, you had support from your headteacher, the principal. – She was, she knew that there was, I mean she was such an
inspiring role model, absolutely phenomenal. She just had the vision. She was one of those people whereby that’s where I wanna be, I don’t know how we’re gonna get there but that’s where I wanna be. And you wanted that, you wanted to be in that particular boat or train. You wanted to buy into that vision ’cause you knew that she had you. She knew that she won’t, if
you make a mistake that’s fine, you’re learning from that. – Is she still there? – She’s not, no, she’s not. She’s now working leading
a group of schools in Kuala Lumper. But we’re very much
still in touch, ’cause. – And is the new leadership supportive in the same ways? Because, there must be, almost every person in this room knows, too painfully, the problem
of changes of leadership that change the course, shift values. – What do you think? (audience laughs) – Well let me go, yes. I think you did, you got a leader. – Oh, sometimes I feel so
sorry for my principal. I don’t think he has a choice. (audience laughs) – Well, that’s actually
an incredibly interesting and important moment, when
the culture of a school is so strong and so many
people have bought in that the new leadership
doesn’t really have a choice. Do you think that’s what’s happening? – No, I just think that he can see that there is evidence of results. That there is evidence of good practice, there’s evidence of students achieving. And, yes, it’s difficult
to change a fixed mindset, very difficult, but then when
you have got the evidence and when you’ve got
someone who’s really bossy and annoying like myself,
and who will argue that my way is the only way, and here is the evidence why, and I don’t care, I wanna to do it anyway because that’s how
stubborn I am, it works. (audience laughs) – You and I were talking before, a little bit about issues of quality in terms of classrooms and schools and learning experiences. And I was saying to Andria briefly, just before this session,
that I worked on a study about quality in arts learning experiences and how people understand that. And I kept, at the beginning of the study I kept approaching it by asking people, so what constitutes
quality in arts learning? Kind of a straight-on
straight-up question. And at least the first
dozen of people that, people that I tried this with, said pretty much the exact same thing. They said, I can’t really
answer that question, but I do know what it looks like. I know it when I see it. And finally I started to
shift my interview technique and just started by asking people, so when you walk into a
room and in a classroom, and it looks to you like
what you really want to see, what does it look like? And they started to actually
give us incredible insight into what quality means in
arts learning experiences. So when you walk into
a room in your school, in the art area or in any other area, and it’s really what you wanna see. It’s a room that you don’t wanna leave. – Yeah. – Because it’s, ’cause what’s happening is so powerful and so exciting. What does it look like? – So, there’s many versions
of this perfect world. I wanna see, when I’m observing lessons, I’m going and seeing other teachers teach outside of the arts faculty,
I wanna see students literally jumping off their
chairs answering questions, especially when they’re young. But I wanna be able to see
them leading the learning. So I want them to be in
charge of their own learning, and makin’ their own decisions, and be completely
submerged in their world. I want to see challenge. I want to see them
challengin’ the teacher, and saying but why, but how? And vice-versa. And I want the students
leaving that classroom and wanting to go back and learn, or carry on with their work, and rush to come back
into the environment. I think that’s for me is really important. I don’t like seeing performances. I don’t think, when I’m observing lessons, I don’t see that, it’s all for me. What are the students doing? Are they learning? Is that’s what’s taking
place in the classroom? And in the art room what I love seeing is when you go into an
art room or a music room and you just see the
kids, sorry, the students in their own zone, completely
away from everything. And then you more or less can’t recognize who is the teacher or where the teacher is ’cause they don’t, they just
facilitate the learning, we’re just there to support them. We go and fill up their pots. If the youth thing,
ah, let me just quickly change that for you, you carry on. Or just, just try that line instead, or let me remove that rubber from you or that razor so that you don’t actually, just you’re banning it from using that. So it’s about being in an environment where you can see them
lost in what they’re doing, being mindful, being completely involved in creating and taking part of a journey, where they may not know where it goes, but they’re on that
journey and they’re working either in groups or as individuals. – So, I’ve been in schools that are incredibly well resourced. But when I walked into the room I did not see that. So I’m never making an
argument against resources, that they should be a right of every child’s experience in school. But what do you think are
the kind of crucial keys to creating that environment? – One, there’s only one
thing, relationships. If you, as, if you as a young teacher, or going into a classroom,
you don’t know your children and they don’t know you. Nothing will take place. Steep learning, trust, the ability to want to undertake this journey into exploring the subject
will not take place. There’s got to be a mutual understanding, a passion of why history is
the best subject in the world, why math the best subject, and you only do that by
building relationships with your students, getting to know them. – So two questions there. What is most important for you
to know about your students and what do you think is
particularly important for them to know about you? – Awe, so really, they’re tough. (audience laughs) Tough questions, are you always like this? Are you always like this? – I didn’t come to do the easy questions. – So what do I want to know about them? – You know what, let’s
just do something here. Hold on a second. Think about that for a second. Let’s just take a,
Andria’s just been goin’ for an hour here, just take a moment and think about that. And then we’ll just come back in a second. We can do that, right? So the question is, what’s important to know about your students? And what’s important for
them to know about you? What do you think? – I think what they should know about me is that I am good at what I do. I’m a good teacher. And they only will know
that is if I get down, roll my sleeves up and show them. So I will teach them well. And if they ask me a
question I will answer it, honestly, truly, and if
I don’t know the answer I will say I don’t know that. So it’s about being honest as well. What I want to know about them
is everything, everything. I love people. I am quite happy to sit
and talk to anyone (laughs) for the whole of my day. I love it, I love learning about cultures, I love learning about what they do, what they, what did they,
what did you eat last night? What did you have for dinner? What did you watch on TV? What, and you find out the
most incredible information, like, Miss, I didn’t
have dinner last night. Or no, well, my dad was home but I didn’t want to be
in the same room as him, or, you know, yadda, yadda, yadda. So that’s when I, that’s
when I do my thing. That’s when I do my mom thing and I’m like right, okay,
we need to fix this. I’m not happy with this. And that’s why I am really passionate about the fact that I need to know who I have in front of me. I need to know who my audience is, because they won’t trust
me, they won’t believe me when I’m saying somethin’, I will get you through this course. Whatever I have I will give to you. Whatever is up here,
you’ve got, no problem. But you only do that
if it’s a two-way thing and I think it’s about
getting to know them. – Okay.
– Is that a good answer? I thought it was all right. (audience laughs) I’m bankin’ that, I like that answer. – It’s great. You talked, I want to ask you one question about early teachers. And then I want to spend
a minute or a couple, just a couple minutes looking at this remarkable piece of work
that you shared with us. And then we’ll open it up for
thoughts and questions, okay? You said that high school
was a very powerful learning environment for you, and I’m just curious. Can you, I mean you have
a very, you clearly have a very strong image and
sense of what a teacher can and should be, and I’m curious about where it came from, and whether it was from
any of those teachers you had in high school from someplace and some time earlier, some mix? – Do you know, I do have, you know what we all say, do
you have a favorite teacher, yes I have a favorite teacher. But I’ve been reflecting quite a lot on this wonderful journey
that I’ve been experiencing and I think there’s not one person, but many people. I can say it could be my grandmother, who was a typical Greek, yeah, yeah, who was completely inspiring. My mother, my headteacher, my father, people who I have met, and who I have really been inspired by. Colleagues who I now have,
who are my dearest friends, they have been my teachers. So there’s not one person as such, but many people who I’ve
just been so fortunate enough to have in my life, influencing me, guiding me on my journey. – Great, great. So can we spend a minute with.
– Yes. – With this work. So I spend a lot of my
time looking at things that children make in school, and I’ve been doing that
for the last 25 or so years. And we could, and happily,
sit with a work like this. We’re looking at it back there, you’re looking at it up here. You’ve had a chance now,
while we’ve been talking, to look at this work. And I would love to just take a minute and ask you to just kind of notice what’s most striking to you about it. What strikes you about this work? And what do you notice? Maybe I could just ask a
couple of people to share. We won’t even necessarily use microphones, oh no, we have to because
of the livestream. So, are there three people
that would share something that you notice that’s striking? Sue, could you just run
over to the microphone or pass that, that’d be great. – [Sue] The eyes. – [Steve] The eyes. – [Sue] The eyes. – [Steve] Thank you, anyone else? One more here. – [Woman] The shading and
the lighting on her face and on her hair. – [Steve] Shading and lighting
on her face and on her hair. Is everybody seeing these? Yeah. – [Woman] Building off what Sue said, just the intensity of
the emotion in her face and that’s coming through her eyes. – [Steve] Can you say what
conveys intensity of emotion? What do you see there that
communicates that to you? – [Woman] She’s not smiling. – [Steve] She’s not smiling. – [Woman] And as a child, not smiling, it shows a very intense look. – [Steve] Let’s get one more over here. – [Woman] I think
there’s also an intensity from the contrast of her
clothing and her face, so there’s a, the color for one, and also the evocation of pastels that kind of shows her age, but it’s in contrast to her expression, and what she may be looking at. – [Steve] Beautiful,
could everybody hear that? Yes, okay. So just as a quick check, does everybody feel like they’ve noticed now everything else that was, everything that’s been pointed to? And did you notice something now that you hadn’t completely
taken in before? Do you have any questions
about this artist? Because we’ve got
someone who might be able to answer these questions. So if you have these
questions tomorrow, (laughs) don’t hold on to it. Anything that you would want to know about this human being who made this work? – [Woman] I don’t know
if you’ve said this, yeah, actually, yeah,
(speaking faintly) I’m sorry. – [Steve] Thank you. – [Woman] I don’t know
if you told us this, but what’s the age of, I have two, what’s the age of the artist? And also who is this person? – [Andria] Okay, so. – [Woman] In relationship to the artist. – [Andria] That
13-year-old, two months in, no, one, ah, let me just get this right, three months in from being a refugee, entering my school as a refugee. That is extraordinary for that age group. So as an art teacher, I would expect that from at least a 16-year-old, that would be an average, but this child has got a gift and to display it using found materials in an art room, whereby they’ve never used, and these are oil pastels, they’ve never used oil
pastels ever before. And what they’ve did,
they found a photograph, so remember they’ve just, they had to flee in the middle of the night, okay? Packed all their belongings. The British Army managed
to bring them secretly to the UK for whatever reason. They found themselves in Brent, they found themselves at
Alpertson Community School, they found themselves knocking on the door saying have you got a place? And I was yes, absolutely. Welcome, come, we’ve got you. And they came into, and what happens then is because of the language barriers we don’t automatically throw them in to have every other subjects. We give them a small induction, so we keep them slightly away, working in smaller groups whereby we give them lots of English lessons and English training. However, for subjects such as PE, physical education, music, the arts, maths, we do ask them to integrate with the rest of the class. And when this child did this piece of work in front of my eyes, it just resonated what I always say and that’s the fact that
art is the most inclusive, inclusive subject that there is, and it needs to be appreciated more. – Thank you. I thank you for taking
this little bit of time to just focus on this work, ’cause it always feels to me that when students share
their work with us, we need to, we need to meet it with curiosity and generosity. So, let’s open up. Ready for some thoughts.
– Yes. – Question? Would anybody like to
ask Andria a question, or share a thought? Please come on over. Yeah, it’d be great if you, when you, please let
us know your name, and. – [Woman] Take the mic. – Hi, oh, hi, my name’s Nate.
– Hi. – I’m in the Education
Policy Program here. So I was struck by your
discussion of education, the importance of having
educational leaders with a vision that matches
that of the teachers that they work with. But I find, as someone in
the policy side of education, that there’s this disconnect between the people who are
providing the resources that teachers like you need in order to do the work that you should be doing, and the people on the ground level who have those visions. So do you have any suggestions
from your experience in how to maybe bridge
that gap a little better and for a subject like art, that maybe can’t be
standardized in the way that a lot of policymakers
view as the only way to assess the effectiveness of a subject? – I think you’ve answered
your own question. (audience laughs) And that’s to get the policymakers to get themselves into schools. I don’t think I know of
many Ministers of Educations who actively attend schools and actively speak to the children. ‘Cause where is the
students voices reports? ‘Cause when you hear things like what’s the impact of the
arts, it blows my mind. I’m like, go and speak to a child. Go and see, ask them what it’s given them and how it’s tracked. The other thing I say
is speak to the parents, speak to the governor’s or school leaders. Go and speak to the teachers themselves and ask them questions. Come and walk in my shoes and
see what your feelings are. And not just in my shoes, but all different types
of schools as well. Does that help here, yeah? – [Nate] Absolutely, thank you. – Hello. – Yes, please. – Hello.
– Hello. – My name is Usha Satish. I’m in the International
Education Policy Program. My question is around teacher burnout. You seem extremely high energy, and you seem like someone
who’s so passionate about kids and about
teaching and about learning. I’ve taught for five years. I taught two years in Miami-Dade, through Teach for America, and then I taught three years
at at a KIPP School in DC. And when people ask me that question, I say, oh, the kids
keep me there, the kids. It’s about the kids, and
my love for the kids. And then I kinda end that statement and pick up my beverage. (audience laughs) But beyond the kids, right, because we all love the kids, what, how have you seen
in your years of teaching effective ways of
retaining quality teachers, from a leadership level? Because I know you spoke
about your department and how you’ve had those four strong folks in your department from
time and time again, but that’s not always the case. And when you have a
really strong department that has a high teacher turnover rate it is, it does mess up systems. So how do you keep it together and avoid that teacher burnout? Short, short version. – Who says I keep it together? Who, does this look it? (laughs) No, right, so my other job in my school is that I’m in charge of
professional development. So I have, I’m really lucky that I get to grow other members of staff. And the thing about it is is that teachers are so self-conscious, they’re so worried about getting it right and doing it right, and we are performers, we’re very vulnerable in our classrooms ’cause we give everything. And yet we’re very critical, so I think what’s really important is that teachers have got the opportunity to be mentored, to be coached by somebody who they trust. There needs to be somebody
there who’s looking, who you can work with, who
you can share ideas with. That’s absolutely key. But I think, I don’t know well-being, I haven’t got that quite
right yet in my life. All I know is that I was a teacher before I became a mother and a wife. So in my world, I’m quite fortunate enough to have the support to say
just go and do your thing, we’ve got you. But I know that that’s not
the case with many people. And I know that I have
got staff in my school who are leaving the profession because they can’t do it anymore. And either they can’t
afford to live in London and movin’ out or they just can’t manage or take the pressures of, number one, you’re accountable for every
single child’s progress in your class. It’s your responsibility. If that child doesn’t make
that, (speaking gibberish). You know, come on. So there is that burden, plus the fact that your weekends are never your weekends ’cause you’re either
planning or your marking. And at one o’clock in the morning, you can all see who’s a teacher, ’cause the lights are
still on in your house. We don’t have half terms. We don’t have breaks, we
work during our breaks. We don’t get overtime, do we, no. So why are we still in the profession? How do we stop burnout? Well when you enter the profession, you need to be that person
who, this is what I wanna do, and I’m gonna stay and
this is why I’m doing it. And to hold on to those incredible moments because, Usha, like 80% of the time, I’m rippin’ my hair out and I’m having very interesting conversations with people who I work with, and with the students, and I’m just thinkin’,
you know this is tough. But we have got opportunities and we do get that 20% magic moments. So when the child does that amazing thing, like they produce an
incredible piece of work, or it’s their birthday
and they bring a cake to give to you. And you know that there’s
no money in that house, but yet they want to share food with you because they appreciate you. And that’s what you hold on to. Forget everything else. Everything else is whatever. But just hold on to those particular, beautiful, special moments that
keep you going through life, and that will keep you going. And, I’ve got faith actually, because there’s a lot of concerns now in terms of teacher well-being, the fact that so many teachers
are leaving the profession, that the policy makers have got no choice but to start listening, because very soon there won’t be anyone teaching, a specialist teaching in the classroom. And if that’s the case, then how are our, what kind of an economy are
we gonna have in the future? – [Usha] Absolutely, thank you. – Thanks, Usha, thank you. – Hi, my name is Paula, and I’m in the Educational
Policy Management program, and earlier in your talk
you talked about how within the families
there’s often the message that the arts isn’t a way to make money, and not a way for their
children to go into a career. In your classroom, so there’s
like two questions to this, in your classroom, what
strategies do you use to engage parents, especially those that are refugees who
don’t speak the language? And then I was curious
within your charity, are you encouraging
also family involvement, so they can have exposure to artists? – Really good questions. So the first question is I am, I remember that nobody helped
me make that crucial decision about taking up the arts. So I go to parent’s houses. I make an appointment and I see them, and I say, I need to speak to you. Trust me, trust me, they
will get a good grade. Trust me, they’ll be okay, trust me. And I normally have, I’ve actually established a fantastic relationship with the parents of the
children that I teach. So I think that’s the big thing. And again, it’s showing
them what it could be like. They’re opening their eyes. ‘Cause don’t forget, our
parents are really worried. Their children are gonna
be having huge debts when they leave university. So they wanna make sure they’re secure by having jobs to go to. And if our parents don’t
know the opportunities which the arts subjects could bring, then how are they gonna,
they’re taking a risk with their child. And as a parent I get that. But again, we can’t let this down, we’ve got to persevere with this. So that answers hopefully that
part of your question, Paula. And the other part is, I think naturally, it will happen. I’m not gonna be focusing on that, I think the schools could do that. ‘Cause I think parents like.
(audience member sneezes) Bless you, parents like coming to schools. They feel that schools are, back at home, that schools are, they’ve done all the screening and they’ve done the chop. So whatever happens in
the schools is okay. So they will quite happily get the answers from a school, but at the moment I’m more passionate about just makin’ sure that we do get the quality
artists into the schools to do the activities with the students. Hopefully the teachers also will pick up, learn and use that as conversations to go back to their parents
in their communities. – [Paula] All right, thank you. – Yeah. I think what we’ll do Jordan’s question and one more. – Hi, is this on? – [Andria] Yes. – Yeah, okay, it’s like, over here. – [Andria] Are you Jordan? – Yes, (laughs) nice to meet you. So I’m in the Arts and Education Program and I primarily work in musical theater. – Fantastic.
– And theatre education. And I would just like to know, because I’m always interested in integrating other
art forms into my work, what is your favorite,
just like a taste of, like your favorite lesson
plan or something that, like the activity that each year your kids get so excited to do. (Andria laughs) Something innovative and fun. – Oh, that’s hard. (laughs) Hard, hard, hard. I don’t like teaching
lessons which are not fun. Not fun but not interesting. ‘Cause I always think that,
I always say to myself, right, well if I was a student, would I like me or would I be somebody who would learn from me as a teacher? So I’d flip it. Will they learn, will they enjoy that? Will they engage in that? So I’m always having those conversations and those conflicts when
I’m planning lessons and delivering lessons. That’s one thing, but my favorite thing is for them to not have a moment of peace, so they’re always doing something
or engaged in something. Then I’ll say, right, get
up, walk around the room, see other people’s work, right, sit down. So every minute is accounted for. Unless they need to do
a long piece of work. But then sometimes when you leave students to do long pieces of work, they just get, it just drags on, so you’ve
always got to be on it. So for me it’s time management. Making sure that every
minute is accounted for in that lesson. – [Jordan] Thank you. – And one more, yeah. – She’s got a book. (laughs) It’s gonna be a long
essay, isn’t it? (laughs) – Thank you so much for being here today. – [Andria] Oh my pleasure. – My name is Lindsay. I’m also in the Arts and Education Program and I’m wondering if you
could speak a little bit about the professional
development that you do to support the teachers in your school. And, related to that, how you feel the work and impact of your art department has rippled out into other subjects, and through the administration. – I came across a quote, wait, I’m really rubbish at
remembering quotes, Steve. I just know I’m doing this wrongly, but it was a quote by Richard Branson that says if you invest in your staff well then they will give back to you or they will look after you. And I thoroughly, that’s my mantra. If you invest in people, and you give them all the tools they need and you try and help to
solve their problems, they will give you so much more. And so the so much more is incredible educational
experiences in their classrooms. So I do believe in investing staff. I will try, I’m quite creative in how I think and how I work. So if I know that a member of staff is struggling on something, I will say, right, go and
see that person over there, I’ll make that happen,
that relation happen, or, I’ll call up another
school and I’ll say, right, we’ve got a crisis, can you please come and
just do some mentoring or can we come and visit your school, or can I do a partnership with you? So I’m always trying to finds of ways of solving problems and collaborating. What I always do though, and this is key, is I listen. I don’t think that I have
got all the problems, I can’t solve all the problems. I think they need to be coached to find the problems as well. Because if you’re always
firefighting as a leader then nothing ever gets done. So you’ve got to start
giving responsibility to the teachers themselves to also be able to solve the problems and to carry on. But I love it. When you when you hear
staff saying to you, I just taught the best lesson! I used your technique! You’re like, ahh, (laughs) great. Or when you hear in the corridors, the kids are saying, they’re
coming out of their lesson, I was like, how was it? And they’re like, Miss,
she’s really good isn’t she, she’s really good. I was like, brilliant,
brilliant, she’s got it. She’s getting there. Or when you hear, and this is like, what my heart kinda breaks, when you hear somebody
who comes into your office and you sit down like
that, and they come in and they’re like (exhales sharply). And you’re like, oh my God, you’re gonna, and then they say,
Andria, I’m really sorry. I’m like, (inhales sharply)
what job have you got? So they’ve actually gained promotion. Now, God, that’s incredible. So you’ve helped somebody develop and you’ve helped them achieve beyond what they could imagine, and now they’re actually
gaining promotions in either your school or another school. I mean that’s beautiful. And I always have a
conflict with my headteacher because he always says to me, look Andria, there, some
of them are leavin’. You’re developing them too well that they’re getting
jobs outside the school. I’m like, aha! But look, there’s somebody there, waiting to step into that role. I’ve got someone ready for you. And I think that’s what it is, continually looking at
where you can help somebody improve their practice. And just being completely
open to it as well. – [Lindsay] Great, thank you so much. – Okay, Andria, do you
have any last thoughts you want to share with folks? – I don’t think so. (audience laughs) I think, I’m just so surprised
you’re still here. (laughs) You’ve remained in this room. Thank you very much for being
amazing audiences, thank you. – [Woman] Thank you. (audience applauds) – Andria, I just want to say that it is a pleasure to meet you, to be talking in dialogue with you. – Thank you Steven, likewise. – And I’m struck in every way by the tremendous humaneness and the heart that is present in every aspect of what you shared with us tonight, and clearly what you do. I want to make sure that
somehow you have a photograph of you here, Harvard, and that, so you can show it to the artist. – I would love that, yeah. They would love that. – [Steve] And to thank her
for sharing her work with us. – Thank you.
– So thank you. – [Andria] Thank you, thank you. (audience applauds) – [Steve] And thank you all. (audience applauds)

3 thoughts on “Askwith Forum: Global Teacher Prize Winner – Andria Zafirakou

  1. Sorry but you are wrong on many levels. Resilience in Art classes does not translate into resilience in the maths or English classroom. This is a wacky liberal myth, nothing more it sounds vaguely plausible and very cosy and almost… magical. As such, it's very attractive. Understanding maths builds resilience in maths. Understanding English build resilience in English. One anecdote which ignores all other influencing factors should not influence a pedagogy.

  2. Why should kids have an idea of what career they might do in their future? Showing them all these industries at an early age tells them that childhood is just preparation for being an adult. Children should just be exposed to everything about a subject and the path will come to them; they should not choose out of a given selection of paths. Sometimes seeing careers early on may be more restricting than inspiring.

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