Aynur Bayazit

Menekşe Ahmet Yalçınkaya Anaokulu school, Kırşehir, Turkey

Aynur  Bayazit

Aynur never considered any career other than teaching. However, since she transferred to a school located in a disadvantaged area, her teaching practice has allowed her to devote herself to helping students on the autism spectrum. Conditions in her school are challenging: 95% of students come from families on a low income, 4% of students are orphans or have only one parent, and 3% are either a refugee or disabled. But Aynur has already made a huge difference to their futures.

Aynur’s success in her teaching practice comes from creating projects that have a real impact on her students. The social responsibility project “Little Brothers Learning Their Manners” – as well as the “My Story” and “Game Therapy” projects – have not only helped students and their families to identify and overcome trauma, but have also assisted them in finding support from other sources in the community and society. To address the shortage of quality books for pre-school and primary school, as well as low overall school literacy levels, Aynur has written 10 books in partnership with the families of her students and printed 2500 copies to send to schools in other disadvantaged areas. These have now reached 81 cities and students in the thousands. Out of a desire to reach blind students with these books, Aynur recruited dubbers from Turkish Radio and the Television Corporation to create audio versions as well.

Technology has been a big part of Aynur’s drive to create global citizens. She has arranged Skype calls with schools in Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Greece and Pakistan so that her students can meet people from other cultures, work on their communication skills and collaborate together. (Four years ago her school did not have a computer, but thanks to Aynur it now even has a 3D printer.) She has additionally shared crucial knowledge within the teaching profession by organising seminars on autism training for hundreds of pre-school and special education teachers. These efforts have won her recognition from the Education Ministry, which awarded her the Innovative Teacher prize in 2017 and the Teacher of the Year prize in 2018.

Aynur’s dream is to ensure better quality education for students with autism who live in the more remote corners of her country. If she wins the Global Teacher Prize, she would like to build an educative workshop (with the support of other specialists) to create learning materials for colleagues who work with autistic children. She would also like to build robotics and engineering labs for students in disadvantaged areas, and organize training to raise more awareness of autism at a national and international level.