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  • Joe Sims

Teaching Heroes

Oh guys! We asked and you delivered. What a lovely bunch of people you are and what an incredible bunch of altruistic people you know. Our cup runneth over with brilliant teaching hero nominations but sadly we could only pick 5 to get a £100 smartbox from Buy A Gift. We are going to publish them throughout the day. Let’s raise a glass to all of the people we remember that went above and beyond and helped us when we were young and the heroes that dedicate their lives so generously and willingly to helping engage the next generations of minds. So without further ado, here’s the first one. Miss Friend sounds like one in a million! X

Hi Guys,I would like to nominate Miss Friend, who is the deputy head of Christchurch Junior School in Downend Bristol.Both of my children have been/go to this school and I am a school governor and PTA parent there so know her very well.Miss friend and our head teacher, Mrs Osborne are the dream team and have made our school a wonderful place to be.Susan (I never call her that- seems weird to me even at 39 to call a teacher by their first name!) goes constantly above and beyond the call of duty.She is our pupil premium lead and runs homework clubs and puts together food parcels for a few of the families at our school who are living in real poverty.She is one of the leading team behind education in south glos on ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences) and works tirelessly to push this forward.She is an absolute joy to be in the company of and you can feel her wonderfulness coming from meters away!My son has had a few issues in the last couple of years with bullying and she has resolved this with compassion and kindness and managed to help them all move forward. She also supported me through what was a truly awful timeAlso I have felt for many years that Ted has ADHD, but was fobbed off time and again by different teachers but after her shadowing him for a day she agreed and has pushed for a diagnosis and got him extra help and support and often given up her own time to support him.Her father recently passed away just before Christmas and I know her well enough to know she is broken inside but her enthusiasm and smiley persona has not wavered around the kids.Miss Friend is the perfect name for herShe is my favourite teacher in the worldShe is one of life’s good guys ❤️Sophie xx 1/500

Teaching assistants are the most amazing people and can be so inspiring. Because of her private nature we haven’t shared this recipients name but what an amazing woman she sounds, she fully deserves a gift from our lovely group

Happy Third Birthday.

Here’s the full nomination from Dawn Hebron:

As a recently retired teacher I would like to nominate somebody I worked alongside for many years. She is a member of that unsung and poorly paid branch of teaching, the teaching assistant.

She is one of the worlds givers.

In all my years of teaching she is the most impressive example I know of total commitment with little or no reward, and always willing to give over and above.

Born in the 1930’s she bought up a large family of her own, before fostering numerous children and continuing to support and live with vulnerable individuals up to this day.

She worked as a Paid TA up until about 10 years ago when she hit her 80’s and chose to work voluntarily. From then on she has worked every morning(unpaid) with children who need extra support and time.

Alongside this voluntary work she has worked at night for many years for the Samaritans answering calls and doing administrative tasks.

She is a very private person and never seeks recognition for these acts of love. She is unaware I am nominating her and if she knew she would say she does nothing special, but I believe she is the true essence of kindness and selflessness and should be recognised for her lifelong contribution to children, education and vulnerable people.

Happy Wednesday our lovely community,

It’s my pleasure to announce our third recipient this week, someone going above and beyond to truly help change the course of someone’s life.

School can be the most amazing place, but for some it really isn’t, it’s frustrating and alienating and not a happy place.

Scott, our nominee, works with kids who aren’t coping in main stream school and works with them to work out what they need to help them be educated, giving up free time, spreading encouragement and acceptance.

We are so happy to recognise what amazing work Scott has done and continues to do.

Our lovely member Charlotte put him forward.

Here is Charlottes nomination in full:

Hello again lovely admins,

This nomination is for Scott Parsons.

Once again, Scott is someone who works with schools to help those children that have been labelled 'unmanagable' and are at risk of being excluded.

He takes that label of 'unmanageable' away from these children and makes sure that these children either go back into school or onto another facility, more well-rounded and able to actually get some education.

He also - in his own time (!) - takes holiday from his day job to go and work at the breakfast clubs or the all day clubs with children and plays football with them, sings with them; colours in with them (sometimes actually teaching them how to colour in - how heartbreaking?), whatever activity they like.

He has a total gift for teaching these children - who are often on 'high alert' all the time beacuse of their history - and he has worked within education and especially education outside the 'mainstream' all his life. It comes so naturally to him and he gets through to even the toughest of the tough kids, and he is incredibly calm.

The children absolutely flock to him and they are desperate for him to see the results of what he has taught them whilst they've been with him.

Currently he works on a programme called Acheive, funded by the Princes Trust. This programme takes children out of school for 10 weeks and they do a lot of education in an active setting with all sorts of activities as well as including social education - drink and drugs awareness; sexual health etc

He has previously worked with children through football - he created a disabled football team when he worked at Blackburn Rovers; he gets children singing and into music (as he loves his music); and also works teaching children boxing.

He's full of ideas - recently started an upcycling project within the Achieve programme for the kids to work on, so that they have something creative to work on and then sell this furniture on and put the money back into the programme so that they can do more activies with more children. They've now rolled this idea out across more places in the country.

Goodness only knows where these children would be without him, and he's been doing this for 16 years.

Sadly, these jobs are not well paid at all, so I know that £100 would make a difference to him personally as well as being such a gesture of appreciation.

Thank you for your consideration for this.

best, Charlotte

Our next nomination was nominated by a few people. His tireless hard work starting as a teaching assistant and working his way up to head master in East London helping young people with acute behavioural and emotional needs has been awe inspiring. To give so much and to be treated so badly by the very institutions that should be supporting these heroes is sadly an all too often seen phenomena. The stories of his hard work, generosity and teaching prowess are legion.

Hello lovely 500 Reasons team,I would like to nominate my husband, an ex head teacher. He took over as interim headteacher at the a primary school for pupils with special educational needs after his headteacher got suspended. He got thrown into the job with very little support and no deputy head to help him so he basically did two jobs while learning to be a headteacher. He often worked at least six days a week and every weekday evening and hardly saw or played with his little son during this time. Over the next year he got bullied by the head of governors who had no idea about education and yet tried to micromanage him, at one point screaming at him. He also told another member of staff that he didn’t think he could do the job which led an already burned out man to quit his job and move our whole family to Berlin, where we arrived 7 weeks ago. If he had wanted to apply for the actual headteacher role, the head of governors would have decided on who‘d get the job so Iain felt he wouldn’t stand a chance. He was at the school for 14 years starting there as a teaching assistant. He absolutely loved the school and the kids and I always thought he‘d one day retire there. He’s given the school so much, especially when headteacher but not only and I‘d love for him to get a little reward as he never got one from the local authority. Have a lovely day x

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