Sydney maths teacher and YouTube sensation Eddie Woo has been named today as one of the top 10 teachers in the world, taking him one step closer to winning the coveted $US1 million Global Teacher Prize.
A 2017 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award recipient, Mr Woo entered the Global Teacher Prize following a partnership struck between education charity Schools Plus, which co-presents the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, and the Varkey Foundation, which runs the Global Teacher Prize. Under the partnership, recipients of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are specifically invited to apply for the prize.
The inspiring maths teacher from Cherrybrook Technology High School, whose WooTube videos of his maths lessons have been watched more than 11 million times by viewers across the world, is the only Australian in this year’s Top 10 finalists.
The global accolade follows Mr Woo’s announcement as Australia’s Local Hero in the recent Australia Day Awards, and his warmly-received Australia Day Address in which he called on all Australians to truly value schools and teachers.
“To be frank, when I entered the Global Teacher Prize at the encouragement of Schools Plus, I just thought I would throw my hat in the ring. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. When I have a look at some of the people who have been unearthed by the Global Teacher Prize, their stories are so amazing,” Mr Woo said.
“So this is a surprising and wonderful opportunity and honour, and I’m so excited about the possibilities this is going to unlock. I guess the 10 of us represent the different facets of what thousands of great teachers do to serve their communities all over the world in all different ways. I’m just an emblem of that.”
Mr Woo and the Top 10 finalists were selected from more than 30,000 nominations from 173 countries. The Global Teacher Prize was set up by the Varkey Foundation to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of educators that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.
Mr Woo’s innovative and passionate approach to teaching and his students was recognised by the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards in 2017. Named one of the 12 inaugural Teaching Fellows, he has contributed to developing the goals and structure of the Fellowship, which aims to advocate on behalf of the teaching profession and influence education practice and policy in Australia.
“I am rapt to be able to represent the Fellows in this way,” he said.
“Even within Australia, I have been surprised at how fundamentally different the classroom experience is for teachers in different parts of the country. I love learning, and now I have this opportunity to learn from teachers working across the world in the way I’ve been able to learn from the Fellows working in different contexts across Australia.”
Next month, Mr Woo and the 11 other 2017 Teaching Fellows will travel to Dubai to attend the Global Education and Skills Forum, at which the Global Teacher Prize will be awarded on March 18. Representatives from Schools Plus, the Commonwealth Bank and the Federal Department of Education will also attend.
Schools Plus CEO, Rosemary Conn, said Mr Woo was an outstanding representative of Australia’s great teachers, who worked every day to change the direction of students’ lives.
“We know Eddie will do us proud on the international stage, inspiring teachers and others around the world in the same way he has inspired so many in Australia,” Ms Conn said.
The 2018 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards will be presented on Friday, March 23 in Sydney.