The Joy of Teaching

No, not a phrase you hear a lot. I've just caught up with a long interview from Saturday's Guardian, in which Andria Zafirakou talks about her work as an art teacher in a Brent community secondary school. the kids are diverse and challenging - speak 35 languages, and many of them come from seriously deprived homes. But that's part of the attraction - she likes learning bits of their languages, trying to get them motivated, helping them overcome the obstacles they face. Great stuff, and familiar - I knew lots of teachers like that. She's not into lecturing them about their deficiencies - build up their confidence, make them feel some pride and enthusiasm, and then they'll be ready to learn. 

And why is she in the news? Oh yes. She's just won an international award for Teacher of the Year. These are the attitudes, the approaches, that people all over the world value in their teachers. Theresa May and government ministers have of course but running to congratulate her, despite the fact that she's the direct opposite of the kind of teaching that they encourage. It would be nice to think that her example might change their minds, but don't hold your breath.