Behind every great achiever is a teacher who has taught and guided them along the way. No one can go far without someone by their side inspiring them and showing them the way. Therefore, teachers are truly one of the greatest blessings in life and we should work harder to acknowledge this. The Varkey Foundation in partnership with UNESCO honours the impact of teachers around the world with the Global Teacher Prize. This year, our very own Samuel Isaiah has been nominated and shortlisted as a Top 10 finalist!
Samuel Isaiah Inspires
Samuel Isaiah is only 33-years old and already impacting the world with his work in the Orang Asli community. About eight years ago, he was posted to an Orang Asli settlement school at SK Runchang, Pekan.
While many others would be put off, he decided to leave a lasting impact on the community. Despite needing to travel deep into the rain forest every day, he has dedicated himself to working with the children.
As an English teacher, his biggest challenge is the language barrier. Many of the children prefer to speak in their own dialects. Moreover, he is unable to converse with them in Bahasa Malaysia. As a result, Samuel is using his creativity to adapt his teaching methods.
Firstly, he introduced them to the ukulele to inspire them and keep them entertained. By teaching them songs, the children could become more comfortable with the language. In addition, he organised crowdfunding campaigns to purchase laptops, tablets, and ukuleles for his students.
Other than that, Samuel launched an ‘Asli E-Pal’ programme for the students to exchange emails with pen pals. This helps them to improve their conversational English skills while staying engaged. Thanks to all his hard work, Samuel Isaiah has raised the school’s average pass rate in English from 30% to an amazing 85%.
Global Teacher Prize
The Global Teacher Prize is an award that only exceptional teachers with outstanding contributions will receive. With a whopping $1 million USD as the prize, it will help to recognise and encourage the growth of the profession. Furthermore, the award can make a difference globally thanks to its international recognition.
If he wins, Samuel says he will use the prize money to improve the lives of Orang Asli communities. He will do so by collaborating with government bodies and NGOs across the country.