There were tearful scenes on the podium as Ozlem Akin, a state school teacher from the central Anatolian city of Kirsehir, was voted Turkey’s ‘Teacher +’ and walked off with first prize of a trip to the annual IATEFL teachers’ conference in Liverpool this April.
What is a Teacher+? Six months ago British Council Turkey in partnership with INGED, the local teachers’ association, launched a national competition to acknowledge those English language teachers who go well beyond their regular teaching duties in their commitment to benefit their students, schools, colleagues or the wider community. We knew that there were such dedicated professionals quietly devoting time and energy to further the cause of English language teaching across Turkey without receiving the recognition they deserved so we wanted to provide a platform for these teachers’ stories to be heard. Our Teacher+ competition invited teachers to nominate a colleague who they felt deserved such an accolade (a Teacher+ is far too modest to nominate him or herself of course!). After many hours of horse-trading, a panel of British Council and INGED judges arrived at a shortlist of three potential Teachers+. It was particularly pleasing that all three were state school teachers based in Diyarbakir, Kirsehir and Mugla.
To announce the winner, we held the glitziest ELT event of the year where we invited our key ELT contacts to a cocktail party-style networking event in an Ankara hotel. During the event Burcu Akyol argued for the benefits of teacher networking and outlined 10 handy tips for making the most of conferences while Wayne Rimmer, Coordinator of the Pronunciation IATEFL SIG, encouraged teachers to join a SIG to further their professional knowledge.
And then it was time to vote…Once participants had heard a summary of each of the shortlisted teachers’ achievements, Ozlem Akin from Kirsehir emerged with the most votes for coordinating an European Union CEDEFOP Transversal Programme, acting as project coordinator for a Comenius partnership project and for leading an initiative to deliver free language lessons to learners at weekends.
British Council Turkey
English Language Programme Manager