The Cambridge professor thanked Dikran Tahta, who taught him at St Albans School in the 1950s, as he celebrated the role teachers can play in the lives of their pupils.
“At St Albans School, there was an inspirational maths teacher, Mr Tahta,” he says.
“He opened my eyes to the blue print of the universe itself, mathematics.
“I wasn’t the best student at all. My handwriting was bad, and I could be lazy.
“Many teachers were boring. Not Mr Tahta, His classes were lively and exciting. Everything could be debated. Together we built my first computer, it was made with electro mechanical switches.
“Thanks to Mr Tahta, I became a professor of mathematics at Cambridge, in a position once held by Isaac Newton.”
He adds: “When each of us thinks about what we can do in life, chances are, we can do it because of a teacher.
“Behind every exceptional person, there is an exceptional teacher. Today, we need great teachers more than ever.”
Video created by the Varkey Foundation for the Global Teacher Prize, an annual award to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.