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Inspirational Teachers - Julie Binney and Roger Makin

Wednesday 01 February 2017

Nominations for the Inspirational Teaching Awards 2017 are now open, giving you the opportunity to formally recognise a teacher or a member of staff who has made an inspirational or transformative contribution to your student experience, either inside or outside of the classroom.

To mark the opening of this year’s nominations, we caught up with a number of 2016 winners to find out how they felt about winning the award and how you can submit your nomination.

Julie Binney, Academy of Sport & Physical Activity

What did it mean to you to win the award last year?
I felt incredibly valued for the unseen work that goes on behind the many classroom doors.  Some of my close colleagues know that I failed spectacularly in my own compulsory education leaving school with just two Ordinary Level qualifications. I spent many years trying to find the right path in life, and I did many different jobs to keep my head above water. It was a struggle. Over the 20 years I have been incredibly lucky to meet the right people at the right moments in my life. These people have advised me, showed me care, compassion and empathy. Sometimes they just told me to stop complaining about the amount of work that I thought I had to do, and just get on with it!  Everybody needs friends and colleagues like these people.  What this award has taught me is that hard work, openness, honesty and fairness serve you well in the end, and that it is never too late to work towards new personal and professional objectives.

What do you love about teaching on your course?
The teaching staff associated with the Physical Education and School Sport course have developed an ethos where hard work hard, openness and care for others is fundamental to successful scholastic activity. Success in Sheffield Hallam's Physical Education course is reflected in the purposeful partnership work between students and staff and this is one of the most rewarding parts of work.

What inspires you about the future of your subject?
Physical Education and Sport have been at the forefront of national policy for a few years now. There is no doubt change is needed to  ensure that people become educated in mind and body to  both enable and empower people to engage in lifelong participation and thus develop and maintain a positive health status into older age. With the increasing emphasis on physical activity and health, the importance of Physical Education in laying the foundation of physical literacy and in enabling individuals to take responsibility for their long-term health, is leading to new multi-professional opportunities in which PE professionals must work. I think the future is exciting in this respect.

What does working at Sheffield Hallam mean to you?
Sheffield Hallam is an inclusive university, which has a strong track record in providing students from traditional and non-traditional educational backgrounds the opportunity to succeed.  Work is both rewarding and challenging. One of the most important characteristics of working at the University is the satisfaction gained from working in an institution that has high ideals and puts the students first. Whether you are involved with learners in in a direct way through teaching, or whether you are working ‘behind the scenes', in an administrative or student support role, the progressive and ambitious atmosphere of university work can be a stimulating environment.

What are your top tips for final year students?
Firstly, I would say to try to look at yourself through the eyes of others and reflect on those expectations. Secondly, be thoughtful to those who might be finding that last few months of their degree difficult for whatever reason; be tolerant and fair with those around you that are doing their best to support you, and keep your spirit high and be positive. Finally, work harder than you have ever worked before but keep the balance between academic work and your personal life realistic to enable you to both reach your potential without compromising your own and others wellbeing. You should not be surprised at what you are capable of doing if you apply yourself fully to this last part of your academic study. Your behaviour in these last few months will help you development the resilience for your future personal and professional circumstances.

Roger Makin, Department of Nursing & Midwifery

What did it mean to you to win the award last year?
The meaning I get from my job is entirely dependent on the difference I feel I make to lives. That might be anything from students realising that they matter, all the way through to positively influencing the knowledge and attitudes students take into their futures to affect other people’s lives. The award is merely pleasing, but the nominations confirm that for someone I made a difference.

What do you love about teaching on your course?
Getting a discussion going with the students. Especially if I lose because that means I’ve learned something.

What inspires you about the future of your subject?
My subject? Nothing much. What I can see of the future of health care is depressing. But I am inspired by individuals who work within my subject. People who strive for quality, people who show compassion, people who find and spread hope and joy. That’s who I want my students to be.

What does working at Sheffield Hallam mean to you?
It means I am one of a team. It means collegiality.

What are your top tips for final year students?
Don’t put anything off anything any longer. Endeavour to lift each other’s spirits. Be kind.

Who will you nominate for an Inspirational Teaching Award?

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