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News 2 > Global Teacher Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize > Artur Proidakov

Artur Proidakov

He was born and grew up in Stakhanov (now Kadiivka) in Luhansk region, under Russian occupation since 2014, where Russian language spread due to the long-term policy of Russification which restricted Ukrainian language and culture. But thanks to his own schoolteacher Valentyna Kolodiazhna who skilfully communicated to him the beauty of the Ukranian language and created a lasting love of it, he started listening to Ukrainian-language music and reading more Ukrainian books as a kind of protest. Wanting the language to become more widespread and popular, he chose the specialty "Ukrainian philology" on entering university in 2007, and practiced at the "Artek" children's camp in Ukrainian Crimea, enjoying discovering new dimensions of Ukrainian language and literature and sharing this knowledge with others. 

In 2014, due to the start of Russian aggression, many students at the pedagogical college, where Artur worked for 3 years, were forced to leave Luhansk region in search of a new place of study and live. As the situation in occupied territories worsened he moved to Romny in the Sumy region, where he understood that in conditions of war and global changes, it is not enough to "just teach" children, but that a teacher is a person who opens the door to adulthood, who doesn’t divide world into "black" and "white" and doesn’t run away from risks and obstacles. Seeing the task of school being to help the modern teenager to find themselves and learn to overcome any challenges, today Artur doesn’t just teach Ukrainian language and literature at school, he communicates with children, their parents, and his colleagues, together visiting exhibitions, going to the cinema, or just walking around the city. Every conversation, every moment spent together becoming part of the important activity of a modern teacher, whose educational process is not conducted only in class, but where the lesson is a prologue to the long process of personality formation. 

Working at school in Kyiv, he created a course on Ukrainian literature as part of the "All-Ukrainian Online School" project during the Covid-19 pandemic, which became a lifesaver for millions of Ukrainian teachers and students forced to switch to distance learning. In 2021, he decided to take part in the national Global Teacher Prize Ukraine, and despite his expectations to the contrary, went on to win. Following the 24 February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia the lives of all Ukrainians changed, as they live and work in conditions of full-scale war. But even in wartime Artur continues implementing important social projects: an online course "Speak" for everyone who wants to learn the Ukrainian language, a conversation club for temporarily displaced people in Ivano-Frankivsk region and free webinars for children from all over Ukraine to prepare for the national test. 

Artur says his mission today is to inspire teachers from all over Ukraine, to continue being an agent of change despite shelling and constant threats. He wants to set an example for the whole world, showing a Ukrainian teacher today does more than before, above all striving for victory and a civilized world in the fight against aggression, not with weapons in his hands, but through the transfer of knowledge and through communication with children, his main strength being "gentle Ukrainization" through lessons, which instil in children a love for Ukraine. He dreams of returning to Ukrainian Donbas someday to continue teaching Ukrainian language and literature, in order to integrate the still-occupied region into the modern life of a European country. 


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