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Celebrating inspirational teachers

The University held an awards ceremony on Friday 17 May celebrating ten state school teachers for their inspirational impact on their students. Among the teachers was Oliver Smith from Halesowen College, who was nominated by Michael-Akolade Ayodeji (2018, PPE).

The scheme to recognise inspirational teachers began in 2010. This year 84 teachers were nominated across the whole of the United Kingdom. The awards were presented by Professor Martin Williams, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, at the event which was held at Worcester College.

Oliver was Michael-Akolade’s sociology teacher during sixth form. Michael-Akolade described the way that Oliver pushed his students outside of their comfort zones: “He would recommend books by philosophers, sociologist or fictional authors which were outside our syllabus but facilitated critical analysis of ideas and systems. This laid the foundation for my getting more engaged with the subject topics, reading around my syllabus, attending talks and seminars on interesting motions beyond the A Level scope.”

Oliver said: “I am extremely honoured and humbled to be recognised for an Inspirational Teacher Award and I would firstly like to recognise the huge achievements of the person who nominated me for this very prestigious award, Michael-Akolade, as without his commitment and astute academic abilities, this award would not be possible. I am delighted that I was able to play a role in his journey and to witness the results of his hard work, dedication and tenacity. His journey, without a doubt, was incredibly difficult at times, but with unwavering determination, Michael-Akolade has proven that all things are possible, when you are disciplined and unbreakable in your desires to achieve greatness.”

You can watch the video featuring all the teachers and students below. Michael-Akolade’s segment about Oliver begins at 20:29.

Photograph by Edmund Blok

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