The three shortlisted teachers from Malaga
Three Costa educators in running for Best Teacher in Spain awards

Three Costa educators in running for Best Teacher in Spain awards

The shortlisted finalists were suggested by their students, with their teaching quality, pupil satisfaction, research, training and innovation to be judged by an expert panel

Susana Zamora


Sunday, 19 November 2023


Three teachers from Malaga have been shortlisted as finalists at the prestigious Best Teacher of Spain awards this year.

The 10 finalists of each six categories were announced this Wednesday following suggestions from students on who should be named the country's best teacher for 2023. Teaching quality and student satisfaction, research and knowledge, training, teaching of values, and innovation will all be considered.

From Malaga, Patricia Santos Campos from IES Profesor Isidoro Sánchez and Noemí Zambrana Domínguez from IES Vega de Mijas were both shortlisted as finalists in the Best VET Teacher in Spain category. María García Viñolo from Espacio Educativo Meraki was named as a finalist in the non-formal education category. It's García Viñolo and Zambrana Domínguez's second nomination and Santos' third, who was previously elected twice as the Best VET Teacher in Spain. She said: "Awards are always a bonus and we can never lose sight of the fact that our students always come first. Our prize is when we manage to get them excited and to guide them when they are not clear about their objectives; when they do a vocational training degree and go with their head held high". "Being a finalist is already something very big, because there is a group of teachers who have valued my work and that is something to be very grateful for," Santos added.

The teacher of the higher degree of styling, hairdressing and professional makeup said her teaching technique is to present real industry problems to her students. "At the beginning of the course, students are presented with a professional problem and throughout the course they have to research to find solutions," Santos said. During the 2022-23 course, she arranged a visit to The Makeup Academy in New York, where her students attended an eight-day masterclass with top professionals, some of them regulars on renowned fashion runways such as New York Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, María García Viñolo from Espacio Educativo Meraki, who holds a degree in primary education teaching said she likes to contribute more to students outside the classroom. She gives private lessons, and at first just started off as a way to earn extra money during university, but it has now become her career. In 2019 she became self-employed and set up her own academy. She set up her grandmother's garage in Churriana in Malaga city to start her project and four years later she is still there. In her first year, she started giving lessons to 15 children, that has now grown to 100. "I did not expect it (the nomination)," she said, who teaches students from kindergarten to high school with a methodology that involves board games.

Noemí Zambrana Domínguez, from IES Vega de Mijas, said her nomination was already just as rewarding as the top gong. "To think that students dedicate part of their time to speak well of you is such a shot of energy," Zambrana said, who this year teaches students about tourism and event management.

Whilst also being a stickler for including board games in her teaching, Zambrana Domínguez also encourages her students to take up volunteer work. During class breaks, her students would set up a charity market with objects such as clothes, toys and books. "The money they obtained (360 euros) was donated to Donkey Dreamland and the material that was not sold, valued at 400 euros, was also given to Cudeca," she said. "I thought the project would not catch on, because young people value their free time, but the response was great."

Origin of the contest

The awards are an initiative of the Educa organisation, a platform formed by teachers from different educational levels and promotes the improvement of education. The ten finalists will receive a diploma and a statuette that will be awarded at a special gala in 2024, during the celebration of the fourth World Education conference on February 24 in Santiago de Compostela.

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