Sheffield teacher honoured for inspirational impact
A Sheffield teacher has been honoured by Oxford University for having an ‘inspirational’ and lasting impact on a former pupil.
Simon Dawson, a maths teacher at King Ecgbert School, in Dore, and former teacher at Springwood High School, in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, is one of 10 teachers from across the state school and college sector to have won a 2019 Oxford University ‘Inspirational Teachers' award.
The initiative is designed to celebrate and show appreciation for the crucial role that teachers play in encouraging talented young people's aspirations against the odds, helping them realise their potential.
A group of first-year Oxford undergraduates were asked to nominate teachers who inspired them to apply to Oxford, drove their passion for a particular subject and supported them during the university’s notoriously challenging interview process.
The winners will receive their awards on Friday, May 17, at a ceremony held at Worcester College.
Simon was nominated by Kaveeta Malhi, a former student at Springwood High School, who is studying medicine at Merton College, Oxford.
He said: “I am humbled to be nominated by Kaveeta. I find it unbelievable that it has been four years since I taught her in Year 10 and to think that all that time ago she felt that I played a part in helping her get to where she is today is amazing (I still can’t quite get my head around that).
“The award is a nice way for students to thank somebody who has played a key role in their life, in particular getting them to believe that studying somewhere like Oxford is a realistic possibility. The big shame is that only a small number of teachers get recognised for what they do.
“I have had the honour of working with and continue to work with so many fantastic teachers who have not only inspired children but also inspired myself and other colleagues to be the best they can every day.
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“Teaching is stressful and it takes a lot of patience. It is hard work but when pupils do something amazing. Whether it is a performance on stage or achieving outstanding results it can be incredibly rewarding.”
Of why Simon had such a lasting impact on her life, Kaveeta said: “I nominated Mr Dawson for making sure every single one of his students had the opportunity to be the best that they could be, and seeing potential in people even when they could not see it themselves.”
Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford, said: “Achieving a place at Oxford requires academic talent, and dedication so support from those around can help, particularly support from teachers.
“By bedding in the love of learning I know teachers make the experience relevant and in many cases fun.
“Many of our students go on to pursue careers as teachers themselves, inspired by those that have shaped their lives along the way.
“Instilling hope and igniting a lifelong passion for learning is a gift that we can never say thank you enough for, but I hope this award goes some way to showing our appreciation.”
Professor Louise Richardson, Oxford University Vice-Chancellor, said: “I look forward to the Inspirational Teachers Awards each year as our chance to recognise the enormous contribution teachers make by motivating, inspiring and believing in their students.
“Congratulations to all this year’s winners; their work is very much appreciated.”