Actor, comedian and writer Stephen Fry has paid tribute to teachers all over the world in a video message in which he highlighted the impact that a teacher had on his life.
The video message was released today, a day before the announcement of the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, a US$1 million award established by the Varkey Foundation in collaboration with Unesco.
In the video, in which he paid tribute to the 10 finalists, Mr Fry recounted his experience at school, when he had a "great teacher".
He said: "Like some very lucky people, I had a great teacher, when I was about 13 or 14 – at a time when I was a very difficult child indeed.
"Looking back, I can see that one quality he had above all others that made him a great teacher and lit a fire inside me – and that was enthusiasm. It was a never-dying passion for teaching, not just the subject... but also teaching children."
Mr Fry said that a few years later when he went on to become a teacher, he began to appreciate teachers' ability and how hard a job it was.
He said: “I discovered the secret that teachers never tell you, because they are decent people and they don’t want to complain, and that is that it is astoundingly hard work. It is incredibly tiring, and I challenge any one of you: just spend a day teaching, six periods, six lessons maybe, six classes, and by the time you finish two you will not believe you can do it.
Stephen Fry: 'Being a teacher takes such commitment'
"It takes such focus, such commitment, simply the mixture of controlling young people, keeping them in reasonable order, but also letting them breathe, letting them be alive, enthusing them. My admiration for teachers will never die."
The 10 finalists, who include UK maths teacher Jamie Frost are:
- Carlo Mazzone, an ICT and computer science teacher at technical institute, the ITI "GBB Lucarelli" in Benevento, Italy;
- Doani Emanuela Bertan, a special education and Portuguese language teacher at EMEF Julio de Mesquita Filho, Municipal Public School, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil;
- Hà Ánh Phượng, an English language teacher at Huong Can High School, Phu Tho province, Vietnam;
- Jamie Frost, a maths teacher at Tiffin School, Kingston-Upon-Thames, United Kingdom;
- Leah Juelke, an English teacher at Fargo South High School, North Dakota, United States;
- Mokhudu Machaba, a foundation phase teacher at Ngwanamago Primary School, Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa;
- Olasunkanmi Opeifa, an English teacher at Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, Nigeria;
- Ranjit Disale, a primary school teacher at Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Solapur, Maharashtra, India;
- Samuel Isaiah, an English language teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang School, Muadzam Shah, Pahang, Malaysia;
- Yun Jeong-hyun, a technical teacher at Suncheon Technical High School, Jeollanam-do, South Korea.
Mr Fry said: “To our top 10 finalists and every dedicated teacher around the world: you light the spark of curiosity and fire the dreams that can change our world for the better. Thank you.”
The winner will be announced in a ceremony taking place at 11am tomorrow and broadcast live on the Global Teacher Prize YouTube channel.