What does it take to be the world’s best teacher?

Teachaway Best Teachers

Being a teacher encompasses so much more than relaying information from a textbook to a classroom of students, assigning homework, and grading tests. The best teachers in every school do things differently from their colleagues - they’re the innovators, the motivators, the global citizens.

The Global Teacher Prize is “an annual 1 million dollar award that will be given to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession”. The Varkey Foundation established the award in 2014 with the intention of recognizing the greatest teacher in the world every year. The winner of the Global Teaching Prize is selected by a large committee, dubbed the Global Teacher Prize Academy, which is composed of “head-teachers, educational experts, commentators, journalists, public officials, tech entrepreneurs, company directors and scientists from around the world” - and Kevin Spacey.  

In naming the world’s best teacher, the Academy takes a lot into consideration. Perhaps striving to meet some of the criteria they use in determining the winner of the Global Teacher Prize could help growing teachers around the globe develop their teacher skills and become a better teacher.

According to the Varkey Foundation, here’s what it takes to be the world’s best teacher:


  • Other awards on the local or national level

  • Positive press and publicity

  • Strong references in the education community, including from students, other teachers, parents, and principals

  • Involvement on boards and/or organizations that participate in the advancement of education

Creation of Dialogue/Encouragement

  • Encourages others to join the profession of teaching

  • Produces media - social media, articles, blogs, debates

  • Furthers the status of teaching in the school and community


  • Uses new and effective practices that result in positive learning outcomes for students

  • Integrates technology to advance the modern classroom

Teaching Effectiveness

  • Demonstrates that classroom methods achieve learning outcomes

  • Students achieve good grades, attendance, behaviour, and find success outside the classroom and in the future

Community Excellence

  • Community awards

  • Participates in public talks/seminars

  • Helps to develop the greater community

  • Brings the community to the classroom


Hopefully these inspire to you keep being the best educator you can be - and maybe even the world’s greatest teacher!


For more information on the Global Teaching Prize:

The Academy (judging committee)

Judging criteria

2015 winner

More about the prize