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English Teacher from Maine Wins International Global Teacher Prize

Illustration for article titled English Teacher from Maine Wins International Global Teacher Prize

Maine! Home of L.L.Bean, lobster rolls, Stephen King, and now, a teacher who just won a $1 million prize for being basically the best teacher on the face of planet—and who's taking that cool cash and donating it back to education, because that's what the best teacher in the world does.


Via AP Online:

Nancie Atwell plans to donate the full amount to the Center for Teaching and Learning which she founded in 1990 in Edgecomb, Maine as a nonprofit demonstration school created for the purpose of developing and disseminating teaching methods. The school says 97 percent of its graduates have gone on to university.


According to its website, the Global Teacher Prize "is an annual one million dollar award from the Varkey Foundation to be given to a super-special teacher. One innovative and caring teacher who has made an inspirational impact on their students and their community will receive the reward of a lifetime. Teachers currently teaching children in a compulsory setting or between the ages 5-18 are eligible."

This isn't Atwell's first time at the rodeo. According to AP Online, she's won "numerous" awards for her unique approach to teaching, which includes instilling a voracious style of reading in her students (her students read an average of 40 books a year, versus the national average of 10), and has authored nine books.

It is, however, the first time she's been handed an award by big poppa Bill Clinton. You can watch the award ceremony in its entirety (heads up: it's lengthy) here.

Image via AP

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As amazing as her methods are, I've always found Atwell's books annoying. In my mind, they presuppose that all teachers can adopt the methods she can use within a system she FOUNDED, which has smaller class sizes and more freedom...two things not found as often in the average public school.

TLDR: It makes me sad that many of my friends would kill to teach like her but their hands are administratively tied.