Tamil born Australian Yasodai Selvakumaran has been named one of the top 10 educators in the world, and a finalist for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman did the honours, announcing the list of 10 from a field of 10,000 applicants spanning 179 countries.The actor known for his role as Wolverine in X-Men said teachers are “the real superheroes…the ones that change the world.”
Yasodai Selvakumaran – fondly known as Ms Selva to her humanities students at Rooty Hill High School – has made the final shortlist for the 2019 Global Teaching Prize.
More than 10,000 teachers from around the world were nominated, but Ms Selvakumaran was the only Australian to make the top 10.
At a school where more than half the students come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Ms Selvakumaran said inclusive teaching is vital. Ms Selvakumaran’s parents left Sri Lanka among growing civil tensions.
“Something I really strive for with my students is for them to understand they have a place in the world and to help them find their voice,” she said.
“That’s why it’s so important to teach the humanities, and it’s so important for students to see that Australia is multicultural and they do belong here.”
The Global Teacher Prize, a Varkey Foundation initiative, is an annual US $1 million award presented to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.