Canadian teacher Maggie MacDonnell receives the Global Teacher Prize from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, during a ceremony in Dubai in March 2017. MacDonnell, who works in a fly-in only village in the Arctic, was among 10 finalists chosen from 179 countries and won a $1 million prize.
Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize in 2016 for her innovative approach in using play to counter violent behavior. Hroub grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem and now teaches at a high school in the West Bank.
Finalist Mike Wamaya is a former professional dancer. Now, through Annos Africa, a charity in Kenya that teaches art and dance classes to orphans and disadvantaged children, he provides arts education in the slums of Nairobi.
Finalist Raymond Chambers, a teacher at Brooke Weston Academy in the UK, developed new software for learning, using Microsoft Kinect. He has made ICT lessons more fun and engaging for his pupils.
Chinese finalist Boya Yang is a psychologist and teacher, helping vulnerable students by offering psychological information and guidance to parents and adolescents. In the past three years Boya has set up a center in her school to get teenage girls professional advice and support, reaching and helping over 50,000 teenagers, teachers, and parents.
Finalist Wemerson da Silva Nogueira, a teacher in a crime-ridden area of Boa Esperança, Brazil, created a dynamic curriculum to science classes and has been attributed for rescuing 90% of his students from the world of drugs and crime.
Finalist Salima Begum from Pakistan has helped create awareness amongst parents regarding girls' education and its benefits, and she has pioneered mentoring in the community. She has also helped instruct over 7,000 teachers across her province, and 8,000 more throughout Pakistan through the education reform program.
German finalist Marie-Christine Ghanbari Jahromi aims to increase the self-esteem and empathy of her students, using action methods, such as her Sportpatenproject, encouraging children with a sports mentor and physical activities. The collaborative nature of her sports project has also helped refugee children in Germany integrate more readily into German society.
Finalist Ken Silburn was inspired to become a science teacher by the example of the fine teachers who taught him in his youth. Many of Ken's students have received scholarships to study science at university, and he has been awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Secondary Science Teaching.
Jamaican finalist Tracy-Ann Hall found school difficult herself, due to undiagnosed dyslexia. She first trained as an automotive technician and worked in a garage. This experience in training other learner mechanics gave her a lifelong love of teaching, and after further schooling she ended up teaching a group of students who had previously been written off as "poor" and turned them into a great success.
David Calle, a Spanish finalist, was concerned about the lack of support for students outside the classroom, so 10 years ago he uploaded a maths video to YouTube. After this caught on, he began uploading maths, physics, and chemistry videos for families who couldn't afford a private tutor to bolster what is available in the traditional classroom. Now his Unicoos videos have been viewed by over 30 million students.