A gay teacher who has been threatened over lessons on homosexuality has been named as a top 10 finalist for one of the world’s top teaching awards.
Parkfield Community School assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat is in the running for the $1m prize. He has faced protests from some Muslim parents at the primary school.
The top 10 finalists have all been praised by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman who described them as “real superheroes”, adding that teaching was the most important job in the world.
Mr. Moffat’s ‘No Outsiders’ program at the school, where 99 per cent of students are Muslim, has been praised as “pioneering” in its teachings on inclusiveness and diversity.
He was previously named in a top 50, which has now been narrowed to a top 10, with the winner to be announced next month.
Mr. Moffat was commended for his work in improving opportunities for pupils in a deprived part of Birmingham, in a school where most are from Muslim families and many speak another language at home.
Mr. Moffat also runs an after-school club that creates opportunities for children at his school to meet people from different races, religions and cultures around Birmingham. “A big challenge for us is teaching our children that there are different people out there,” Mr Moffat said in a video launched for the Global Teacher Prize.
Mr. Mofatt has now extended the program to the wider community through parent and child workshops, and other schools across the UK are also using the program.
He added, “I want to take No ‘Outsiders’ to a global stage and I am going to fight for diversity because it works.”
Michelle Harris, a fellow teacher at the school, said, “I think it is really important that he is putting these thoughts into their minds at a young age so they grow up and go to secondary school thinking they can be who they want to be and so can everybody else around them.”
Announcing the finalists in a video message, Jackman said, “I can tell you right now, from where I stand, with all my experience, the real superheroes are teachers, they’re the ones that change the world. My favourite uncle was a teacher. My sister is a teacher. My brother is a teacher. And I have always felt the most important job in the world is teachers. All of us go through insecurity and doubt, trepidation along this journey of life. And those teachers that see the best in us and are patient enough to allow us to grow into that, they are like gold.”
Source – independent.co.uk, newsexplored.co.uk