Mariette Wheeler, a science teacher at Protea Heights Academy in Cape Town, South Africa, has been named a top 10 finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2023 organised in collaboration with UNESCO and in strategic partnership with Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organisation.
Mariette was selected from over 7,000 nominations and applications from 130 countries around the world. She first trained as a scientist, obtaining a PhD in Zoology and spending two years on the sub-Antarctic Marion Island. As she started sharing her knowledge and experience with younger generations, she realised teaching was her true calling. Now her creativity in the classroom, mixing science-themed charades, class debates, and science apps helps students excel at science and her broadcasts on marine life reach 400,000 people.
Now in its eighth year, the USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize is the largest prize of its kind.
It was set up 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 heroes 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.