Jane Woo, Mandarin teacher at Christ’s College Finchley and former IOE PGCE student, has been awarded a Pearson Silver Teaching Award. The Pearson Teaching Awards is an annual award honoured by the Teaching Awards Trust. The Teaching Awards offers everyone the opportunity to say “thank you” to the teacher who has helped students to aim high and achieve their potential. Anyone – children, students, parents, grandparents and colleagues – can take part and go online to say thank you to the teacher who helped them the most. In return, a thank you card will be sent to the teacher and each “thank you” then becomes a nomination for a Teaching Award.
Jane has been honoured with the Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year and has very kindly spoken to the IOE CI about receiving this award and about what it means to her as a teacher.
Hello Jane. Can you talk about your experience of winning a Pearson Silver Teaching Award?
In March and April of this year, the Teaching Awards judges sorted through the nominations, then shortlisted and visited finalists. Two judges visited my school, observed my Mandarin lesson and spoke to my students and colleagues. This year, there are 12 categories of the Teaching Awards across the UK and I feel very honoured to be one of the five Silver Teaching Award winners for the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year category.
This October, the Teaching Awards UK Ceremony takes place and the Gold Plato Award winners for each category will be announced. The ceremony will also be filmed by the BBC and broadcast as “Britain’s Classroom Heroes” on BBC2.
What does it mean to you as a teacher to win this Award?
As a teacher, winning a Pearson Silver Teaching Award feels great as my hard work has been recognised and I cannot thank enough the people and organisations who have supported me greatly throughout my journey as a Newly Qualified Teacher. Just to name a few, my school, Christ’s College Finchley, my Head of Department Ms Katherine Mundy, my Assistant Head and line manager Ms April Elsmore, the amazing team at the IOE Confucius Institute, LSE Confucius Institute, my family, colleagues, students, friends, my neighbours who help me babysit, so on and so forth – the list is endless!
I just want to highlight that the Award is not “my” award, but an award of collective effort from people around me on a daily basis. I certainly could not have achieved this without their help and support. I am eternally grateful to them.
How did you celebrate your win?
Well, work was extremely busy and looking after two children certainly keeps me on my toes. I did not have a “party” celebration as such but my school Christ’s College Finchley was very thoughtful and organised an assembly in secret to announce my award. It was a complete surprise and to be honest, I felt a little embarrassed at that time!
All Silver Teaching Awards winners were invited to Tea at the House of Commons. It was my first time to visit the Houses of Parliament and we spent a lovely afternoon meeting other Awards winners, sipping champagne and enjoying delicious food on the Pavilion Terrace by the River Thames.
The ceremony for the Teaching Awards is taking place this October. I have already chosen a dress for the event and I need to practice walking in my heels! It is like an Oscar ceremony for teachers and there will be a dinner after that. I am excited to be part of this celebration and meeting other great educators across the UK, whether or not I will be winning the Gold Plato Award.
To find out more about the Pearson Teaching Awards, please visit the website: www.teachingawards.com