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Charlotte Grace is a truly inspirational young teacher.
During her penultimate year at university the 24 year-old completed a physics internship programme at Outwood Academy Shafton. After discovering her love for teaching she went on to complete her teacher training when she left uni and was offered a full time position at the school.
Charlotte’s been a trailblazer in encouraging her students to pursue an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related subjects, with her extra-curricular programme, STEM Club, allowing students to “design and plan their own science projects independently.”
This has seen students transform into budding young scientists.
“The students were really up for it and we got to go to the Big Bang Fair, where one student won Barnsley Student of the Year for his work. We also won Best Regional STEM Club too which was amazing for everyone,” she says.
For Charlotte, running the STEM club and being a female physics teacher is hugely significant because “it’s something which girls can aspire to and they feel more familiar and confident with the subject if there’s someone teaching it they can relate to.”
“Developing these youngster’s enthusiasm is wonderful, and you become so close. We’re like a little family!”
Charlotte’s hard work, dedication, and love for both her students and the subject has seen her gain national recognition, winning Outstanding New Teacher Of The Year Award at the Pearson Teaching Awards last year.
“It was incredible – I had no idea I’d been nominated by the school and then they told me I’d been shortlisted too,” she said, speaking about the award.
“I was overwhelmed – I didn’t expect any extra recognition, I just did my job while trying to make a difference.
“For them to see that and think it was having an impact was wonderful.”
After winning the award – which Charlotte describes as “unreal”- she was presented with the trophy during a surprise ceremony in front of the whole school on National Teacher Day.
What made the occasion so special for her, though, was seeing the impact it had on her students:
“Afterwards I had students asking me how I got into teaching – to see them motivated and inspired by the award was amazing.”
She says that teaching remains “the most rewarding job in the world” and insists the difference you can make to students every single day is ultimately what makes the job so worthwhile.
“It’s those little wins. It’s those little light bulb moments when a student understands something they haven’t been able to crack for a few weeks or when they open those results on results day and you know you’ve opened doors for them in the future just because they’ve bought into what you’re selling,” she says.
“The impact you can have on those students is phenomenal, and there are unlimited rewards. It doesn’t matter what mood you’re in, or what side of the bed you woke up on, a student will always make your morning by saying hello in the corridor or asking how your day is going.”
And for anyone thinking of getting into teaching, Charlotte’s advice is to “just get involved with as many things as you can and take the opportunity.”
Images via Charlotte Grace/Pearson National Teaching Awards
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent editor, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over several features and investigative pieces, arguably letting The Hook audience in on way too much of his personal life.