Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Forever grateful…

On Sunday 26th October, I attended the Pearson Teaching Awards ceremony (basically the education BAFTA’s) at the impressive Guildhall in London. One of my Teaching Assistants from Secondary School, Sandra Stellon, was deservedly up for the national Teaching Assistant Of The Year award.  Unfortunately, she did not come away with the Gold Plato (was robbed) but was already a winner because Sandra had already been recognised for her exceptional contribution to the teaching profession when she was given one of just 59 Silver Teaching Award winners in the UK back in May.

This is an even greater achievement when you discover that there were over 2,000 nominations and an intense judging process. My parents and I were actually interviewed by one of the judges and all our positive words about Sandra must have worked. It wasn’t just us to tell the truth, All of her colleagues and other teachers from Sandringham bombarded the judge with praise and left those giving out the awards with no choice but to recognise Sandra’s hard work officially. I was delighted when I heard the news because so many schools do not realise that Teaching Assistant’s are so important and are the backbone of a classroom.

I cannot just focus on why Sandra is brilliant and has shaped me into the person I am today, I must mention my other Teaching Assistant Sue MacInnes (now retired) who I am also thankful to. Both did not just help me with physical tasks such as writing/typing for me but were also there emotionally in what was the most difficult and challenging part of my life. Going from walking in Year 7 to being a full blown ‘Wheelchair Boy’ by the time I left is devastating for a teenager but the pair kept me on track, making sure I didn’t get depressed and remained focused at doing the best I could when it came to schoolwork.

To be fair, it’s not as if Sandra missed out on much by not winning on the night. The BBC, like most people, obviously don’t think Teaching Assistants are that important so only gave the winner 17 seconds of air-time at the end of the show and cut-out her entire acceptance speech. If you want to watch the ceremony (eventhough the camera doesn’t zoom in on ‘Wheelchair Boy’), click the link: She did get a paragraph and picture in the programme though.

Sandra was nominated for her Award by a grateful colleague who said, “Sandra is a one of a kind teaching assistant who is irreplaceable in our school! She is a highly committed professional with the drive and passion to ensure that all her students are supported and inspired to reach new heights. She supports those with special educational needs and students who need additional help and in this role, she brings real and lasting impact to the lives of the students in our school. Her work truly makes a fantastic difference every day!

Bye for now! 

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