I am absolutely honored to represent the United States in the Global Teacher Prize! I am excited about the work we are doing in Columbus. So many incredible students in our school and district have contributed to this work and I could not be prouder to share that work with the world.
-- Eric Crouch , Double Churches Elementary, 2016-2017 Milken Educator Award, 2017 LMC Fellow, Governor's Teacher Advisory Council, State Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council
Eric Crouch, a fifth grade teacher at Double Churches Elementary School, Columbus, Georgia, has made the top 50 shortlist for the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019. Now in its fifth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind and is considered the Nobel Prize of teaching.
Eric’s school has a significant military population, being located near Fort Benning, the largest training facility in the United States. This means his school can be something of a “revolving door”, with many of his students moving home on a regular basis. A number of students also have learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD or speech-related issues. Eric has set himself the task of not letting these challenges arrest their progress as happened to him during his school years.
To that end, Eric uses a variety of methods to help his students’ enthusiasm take off. His class follows a design thinking / Project-Based Learning model that allows students to find out what they are passionate about and use it as a vehicle for achievement. As a Skype Master Teacher, his students have engaged in Skype collaborations with others from around the world, and it is not uncommon for the class to connect to several continents in one day.
Eric’s students have helped build a school in Kimilili, Kenya, created 3D prosthetics for pets, served their local community by providing family photos to families who cannot afford them, and worked with engineers to create a robotic stuffed animal to help teach students how to regulate and share their own social and emotional needs.
The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize 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.
The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 39 countries. The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize received 10,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 24 March 2019.