Maggie MacDonnell is the world’s best teacher, having won the Varkey Foundation’s prestigious $1 Million Global Teacher Prize in 2017
In a Q&A for the Fast Company, Maggie talks about her unique experience of teaching in the Canadian Arctic, being accepted by the Inuit, and how she worked with her students to transform an entire troubled community.
“Whatever the question, education is the answer” Said Educational Philanthropist Sunny Varkey at the Global Teacher Prize Ceremony in Dubai back in March. And the recipient of this “Nobel of Teaching,” couldn’t agree more. Through education Maggie found ways of healing problems so embedded and severe that they had driven many young people in her community to take their own lives.
During her time in Salluit, MacDonnell, 36, went from the heartbreak of attending funerals to being told by four people that she had saved their lives. Arriving as an outsider, the native Nova Scotian—who had previously spent five years working in sub-Saharan Africa on HIV/AIDS prevention programs—helped transform an entire community.
In addition to teaching kids ages 9-18, MacDonnell launched a number of transformative initiatives, including running a community kitchen, attending suicide prevention training, and hiking through national parks to understand environmental stewardship. She established a fitness center that helped build local teenagers’ physical and mental resilience against drugs, drinking, and self-harm. She has also been a foster parent, including to some of her own students. And those students, in turn, have fundraised more than $37,000 for diabetes prevention and other causes. MacDonnell credits these achievements to the power of education to connect people. To her, the secret to being the best teacher in the world is not much of a secret at all. It’s all about building relationships.
You can continue reading the article on the Fast Company website
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) June 30, 2017
Do you know a fantastic teacher? Nominations are now open for the 2018 Global Teacher Prize!
Also published on Medium.