"You are changing lives"
Andria Zafirakou, the 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner, said while a teacher can't be singled out as the best, teaching is undoubtedly the world's best profession.
She said that there is one thing that she needed to tell every teacher in the room: "You are changing lives."
The arts teacher from London gave a frank account of the challenges teachers have to face on a daily basis. She encouraged teachers to hold out for the 10% of magic moments that will fuel them.
"Let's stay optimistic. Let's have high expectations for our children. It is not their fault where they live, or their situation. It's not their fault. But it is our fault to make sure that they can have every opportunity to succeed, and this is a huge responsibility to be placing on us. But hey, we are teachers! We change lives, that is what we do, and we will do that as well!"
Zafirakou emphasised the importance of arts education, especially in environments where children are not taught in their mother language and may struggle to express themselves.
"Art is important because sometimes it is the way our children communicate with us. You don't need a language to speak."
She also stressed the importance of professional development and said it is phenomenal when teachers learn from other teachers.