Cambridge University Press: Dedicated Teacher Award

Cambridge University

Cambridge University Press, the publishing division of the University of Cambridge, has awarded its 2021 Dedicated Teacher Award to Annamma Lucy, a social studies teacher working in Dubai.

Teachers are nominated for the Dedicated Teacher Awards for something wonderful they have done. This year, students were encouraged to thank teachers who are going above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in 13,000 nominations for primary or secondary teachers in 112 countries, double last year’s entries.

After being nominated for the prestigious Dedicated Teacher Award by her students and colleagues at GEMS Our Own English High School Sharjah-Boys’ Branch in the United Arab Emirates, Annamma Lucy was chosen as one of six regional winners by a panel of judges and then gained more than 30 per cent of the public vote in the final to secure the top spot.

Annamma Lucy has been a teacher for 23 years. Originally from the garden city Bengaluru, India, Annamma lost her parents when she was three years old and was taken in by the Good Shepherd nuns who influenced her greatly. She began her teaching career in 1997 at the Good Shepherd Convent Girls’ High School, before moving to the UAE in 2007 for a position at GEMS Our Own English School where she teaches grades 7 and 8 social studies. Annamma’s dedication to her own students and inspirational impact beyond the classroom to help young people during such a challenging time made her stand out in the judging round.

Dr Kenan Barut, Director for Education and English language teaching in the Middle East and North Africa, at Cambridge University Press, said:

‘I would like to congratulate this year’s winner, Annamma, on behalf of everyone at Cambridge University Press. Inspirational teachers such as Annamma help to build brighter futures for young people. Sharing important values and preparing students for life beyond the classroom not only changes their lives for the better, but improves the world for everyone.

This past year has highlighted teachers’ extraordinary efforts to continue their students’ learning, even when schools were closed. We recognise the huge achievements of our six regional winners and of all 13,000 nominees. The Dedicated Teacher Awards are a way for us to say a well-deserved thank you to teachers all over the world. ’

Along with the title of Dedicated Teacher 2021, Annamma will receive 2,578 AED (500 GBP) of Cambridge University Press books for her school. She will also be invited to take part in the Cambridge Panel, an online community of specialists who shape the Press’s education publishing. Annamma will appear on a thank you page in every Cambridge University Press Education book published from May 2021. Annamma and her school will now feature in the Press’s worldwide promotion of the Dedicated Teacher Awards, appearing on the website, annual catalogues and other promotional resources.

Annamma Lucy commented:

‘I feel overwhelmed with joy after winning this prestigious award and it motivates me for years to come. I truly believe that this success is because of “we” and not because of “me”. I would like to thank first and foremost my students, and I would also like to thank the Good Shepherd nuns, teachers and parents for supporting me to get here. Lastly, thank you to Cambridge University Press for this amazing opportunity.’

During the pandemic, Annamma created a ‘Learning Journey’ program which was attended by 82 students during the summer holidays. Annamma organised motivational speakers and teachers from other schools in the GEMS group to talk to students.

Sunitha Sudhakaran at GEMS Our Own English High School Sharjah-Boys’ Branch nominated Annamma for the award. Sunitha said:

‘Ms. Annamma Lucy prepares kids for the road ahead in life. A teacher whose impact goes beyond the classroom. She is an inspiration not only for me but for all teacher community. As a Social studies teacher, I see her encouraging her students to respect women, patriotism, good deeds, and I am proud to say she is my colleague.’

Annamma’s students said she has ‘time for each and every student’ and is ‘always welcoming with a warm smile and a fun activity’.

Winners of the Dedicated Teacher regional awards included Peggy Pesik, Sekolah Buin Batu International School, Indonesia; Nonhlanhla Masina, from African School for Excellence, South Africa; Raminder Kaur Mac, Choithram School, India; Anna Murray, from British Council France and Melissa Crosby, Frankfort High School, Kentucky, USA.

Read all the 2021 shortlisted stories, including Annamma’s, online at