Russian ‘Teacher of the Year’ winners mortified by X-rated trophy

A career in academia wasn’t supposed to be this demoralizing.

Footage from a “Teacher of the Year” ceremony in Russia earlier this month is raising eyebrows for its highly suggestive processional involving an objectively phallic statuette.

Russian news outlet ASTV later called the awards “awkward,” Daily Mail reported, while event producers admitted the trophy had a “strange” and “ambiguous” shape.

The contest on September 7, in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island, just north of the Japanese archipelago, was sponsored by top international oil companies, including Russian state oil company Rosneft, Japan’s Sakhalin Oil Development Corp. (SODECO), India’s ONGC Videsh and ExxonMobil subsidiary Neftegas Limited.

Now people are asking why the contestants — primarily women — were forced to proceed in a line across the stage and touch the award, allegedly a crystal pelican, as they passed. They were told it would be for “good luck.”

Sergey Minaev, RTV broadcaster and former editor of the Russian edition of Esquire, posted the video on YouTube, and compared the fiasco to “some regional PornHub awards for their best models” or a “Divorcee of the Year” award.

“In fact, no, this is just a Teacher of the Year competition on Sakhalin island,” they mocked, according to the Daily Mail.

In a poll, ASTV asked viewers to answer “What did the participants of the Teacher of the Year on Sakhalin touch?” Out of more than 400 responses, only 25% bought the “Glass Pelican” design. Another 28% went with a “Glass Crane” while a plurality, 47%, reckoned is was, uh, something else.

Along with a well-polished pelican trophy, the lucky winner, Irina Saraikina, 44, a history and social studies instructor, also won a paid trip to London to study English.

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