Rameh O’ Sullivan | winning an Inspire! Tutor Award
The first time I started teaching Lifelong Learning, I was impressed by a poster on the wall in the hallway which said: “Some people learn to live, some live to learn”. I am very much one of those people who always enjoy learning, but conscious that life is short and there is so much to learn.
I always tried to promote this simple but profound message to my students, showing them the beauty of learning and the resulting life enriching enjoyment, as well as benefits and opportunities, that can open-up for them.
Winning the Inspire Tutor Award in 2019 meant much to me, suggestive that I had achieved my goal of encouraging my learners to reap the rewards of lifelong learning. The importance of embracing new skills was highlighted shortly after by the dramatic Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 – the need to utilise and embrace new ways of working, teaching, and quickly applying new technology and skills, meant we all had to change.
Learning and teaching on-line rather than in the classroom was a huge challenge since some of my learners were new to IT and found using computers and applications such as Microsoft Teams very difficult. But by reassuring that we were all on a journey, a new learning curve where making mistakes and forgetting how to do something (e.g. turning mute buttons off and on!) is just part of the ride. We bonded well, had fun and learnt to understand the software together. As a result, we are now all getting more confident, and it feels like we are reaping the benefits of on-line learning, the ‘new normal’ for teaching?
Access to learning has also been made easier, my students who are now able to go over and revisit each session in their own time. We can also contact each other at ease by text or chat. I have also been encouraging my learners to get in touch with each other and practice their English on-line, something which is ideal for those who prefer not to travel, although we all miss the social aspect of our sessions and look forward to meeting in the classroom sometime soon.
I was, and still am, so surprised to win an award and deeply grateful for having been nominated. I believe it is so important to nominate tutors and to acknowledge and express appreciation of both their hard work and those that they work with.
Winning an Inspire! tutor award encouraged me to reflect on just how much I enjoy helping my students to enjoy learning and achieve their ‘dream degree’ or move into higher education. Their feedback and emails of how appreciative they all have been of the course and how it has opened many doors for them, always brings a smile to my face.
Rameh O’Sullivan (Cardiff Metropolitan University, Widening Access) won an Inspire! Tutor Award in 2019 for her inspirational achievements in tutoring.