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Schools Plus

Sydney maths teacher Eddie Woo named in Top 10 teachers in world

Sydney maths teacher and YouTube sensation Eddie Woo has been named today as one of the top 10 teachers in the world, taking him one step closer to winning the coveted $US1 million Global Teacher Prize.  

A 2017 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award recipient, Mr Woo entered the Global Teacher Prize following a partnership struck between education charity Schools Plus, which co-presents the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, and the Varkey Foundation, which runs the Global Teacher Prize. Under the partnership, recipients of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are specifically invited to apply for the prize. 

The inspiring maths teacher from Cherrybrook Technology High School, whose WooTube videos of his maths lessons have been watched more than 11 million times by viewers across the world, is the only Australian in this year’s Top 10.

The global accolade follows Mr Woo’s announcement as Australia’s Local Hero in the recent Australia Day Awards, and his warmly-received Australia Day Address in which he called on all Australians to truly value schools and teachers.

“To be frank, when I entered the Global Teacher Prize at the encouragement of Schools Plus, I just thought I would throw my hat in the ring. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. When I have a look at some of the people who have been unearthed by the Global Teacher Prize, their stories are so amazing,” Mr Woo said.

“So this is a surprising and wonderful opportunity and honour, and I’m so excited about the possibilities this is going to unlock. I guess the 10 of us represent the different facets of what thousands of great teachers do to serve their communities all over the world in all different ways. I’m just an emblem of that.”

Mr Woo and the Top 10 finalists were selected from more than 30,000 nominations from 173 countries. The Global Teacher Prize was set up by the Varkey Foundation to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of educators that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.

Mr Woo’s innovative and passionate approach to teaching and his students was recognised by the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards in 2017. Named one of the 12 inaugural Teaching Fellows, he has contributed to developing the goals and structure of the Fellowship, which aims to advocate on behalf of the teaching profession and influence education practice and policy in Australia.

“I am rapt to be able to represent the Fellows in this way,” he said.

“Even within Australia, I have been surprised at how fundamentally different the classroom experience is for teachers in different parts of the country. I love learning, and now I have this opportunity to learn from teachers working across the world in the way I’ve been able to learn from the Fellows working in different contexts across Australia.”

Next month, Mr Woo and the 11 other 2017 Teaching Fellows will travel to Dubai to attend the Global Education and Skills Forum, at which the Global Teacher Prize will be awarded on March 18. Representatives from Schools Plus, the Commonwealth Bank and the Federal Department of Education will also attend.

Schools Plus CEO, Rosemary Conn, said Mr Woo was an outstanding representative of Australia’s great teachers, who worked every day to change the direction of students’ lives.

“We know Eddie will do us proud on the international stage, inspiring teachers and others around the world in the same way he has inspired so many in Australia,” Ms Conn said.

The 2018 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards will be presented on Friday, March 23 in Sydney.

For interviews with Eddie Woo or Rosemary Conn, contact Sherrill Nixon at Schools Plus:

(02) 8880 0296    |    0407 919 900    |    snixon@schoolsplus.org.au

About Eddie Woo

Eddie Woo is the head of mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School, the largest secondary school in NSW. In 2012, Mr Woo started posting videos online for a student who was sick with cancer and missing school. The videos found an audience across Australia and beyond – now WooTube boasts more than 190,000 subscribers and has attracted more than 11 million views. Mr Woo’s unique and passionate approach to teaching is breaking the misconception that mathematics is an inaccessible and difficult subject. He is also a committed advocate for teachers and the importance of teaching.

He has also been appointed by the NSW Department of Education to a school-based professional learning role where he shares his curriculum and pedagogical knowledge with teachers across metropolitan, regional and rural NSW. Outside the classroom, Mr Woo is a proud father of three and a volunteer facilitator with the University of Sydney’s Widening Participation and Outreach program, where he has personally guided and motivated more than 1,400 students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As well as receiving a Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award in 2017, Mr Woo has won the 2015 Premier’s Prize for Innovation in Science and Mathematics in NSW; the 2016 ChooseMATHS Teacher Excellence Award and the 2017 Sydney University Alumni Award: Outstanding Achievements for Young Alumni. In January 2018, he was named Australia’s Local Hero.

About Schools Plus 

Schools Plus is a charity that connects donors with schools in disadvantaged communities, to give students the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. It was established in 2013, bringing to life a recommendation in the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Review). More than 4,600 schools across Australia are eligible for tax-deductible donations through Schools Plus.  

About the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards 

The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are run in partnership with Schools Plus, to recognise and reward excellence in teaching and school leadership. Launched in 2016, the annual Awards celebrate the achievements of 12 teachers across Australia with a $45,000 Teaching Fellowship. The majority of the recipients are teachers or school leaders working in schools in disadvantaged communities. The 2018 Teaching Fellows will be announced on March 23 following a rigorous assessment process that involves educators and education experts. For more information on the Teaching Awards, visit teachingawards.com.au.

About the Global Teacher Prize 

The Global Teacher Prize is part of the Varkey Foundation’s long-standing commitment to improve the status of teachers.Established in 2015, the $US1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to highlight the important role teachers play in society.

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