30yo Sabah Teacher Receives Top Honour As World’s Best Educator In 2024 Cambridge Awards

We are proud of you, teacher Sydney! 🌟
Sydney Engelbert, an English teacher at Keningau Vocational College in Sabah, has been named the world’s best educator by the prestigious Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards.

An overall winner from a pool of 14,800 nominees

Sydney engelbert, named world best educator by cambridge
Photo via Fb/Kolej Vokasional Keningau

From a pool of 14,800 nominees spanning 140 countries, Engelbert emerged as the overall winner for 2024, a remarkable achievement that highlights her exceptional dedication and innovative teaching methods.

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Hailing from the rural area of Tambunan in Sabah, Engelbert expressed deep gratitude for the unwavering support from her family, friends, colleagues, and students.

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“I am grateful and speechless. For starters, I never would have thought to be selected as the regional winner as other nominees were all amazing and I am truly honoured to be nominated amongst them,” she shared on the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards website.

“Yet, the overwhelming support that I have from my family, friends, colleagues, and my students made me realise that I am not alone in this often challenging journey.”

Parents are her core inspiration

Sydney engelbert, named world best educator by cambridge
Photo via Fb/Kolej Vokasional Keningau

Engelbert began her teaching career in 2019, quickly recognising the need to address her students’ limited English proficiency.

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She employed various language art activities to enhance their learning experience. At just 30 years old, her passion for teaching was deeply influenced by her parents, both of whom were educators.

“Both of my parents are teachers and growing up, I witnessed how many lives they touched and inspired throughout their careers,” she recounted.

Their legacy inspired her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

Despite receiving awards and recognition for their years of service, my parents would often say that the proudest thing about being a teacher is when their former and current students still remember and respect them,” Engelbert said.

“Many of their former students still remember them fondly for being their teachers. That is what made me pursue this profession.”

Leading international exchange programs

Sydney engelbert, named world best educator by cambridge
Photo via Fb/Cambridge International Education

In addition to her teaching duties, Engelbert co-pioneered an online exchange class program in 2022 with several vocational schools across Southeast Asia.

This initiative, which runs in three-month cycles, has directly benefited nearly 400 students and 50 teachers within two years.

She also participates actively in other internationalisation programs, including hosting foreign students at her school.

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Engelbert’s achievements mark her as the second Malaysian to win this esteemed award, following Khalifa Affnan’s victory in 2022.

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