Meet Heather – community tutor, winner of 2016 WEA tutor awards
Heather teaches ‘Introduction to Teaching Adults’ and ‘Introduction to Helping in Schools’ as well as employability and craft courses. Heather’s real strength lies in supporting less confident students who are taking their first steps back into education.
Heather is open and nurturing and makes everyone feel welcome and recognised regardless of their background, academic ability or skills. Heather’s students describe her courses as fun, lively and welcoming. It’s clear that she brings out the very best in them and she is consistently supportive and encouraging.
Heather also boosts student morale and confidence. For the last class of term, it is usual custom to have a small party where students bring and share foods from their native countries. Unfortunately a last session coincided with Ramadan so many students were unable to eat, Heather encouraged the students to bring in food anyway and she provided plastic tubs so they could take samples of different dishes home to eat after sunset. Heather also asked each person in the class to share a recipe from their native country. She then created a recipe book in her own time for all to share. This recipe book has now been distributed amongst other centres and used as good practice
All who work alongside Heather are impressed by her ability to gently foster progression among students. For example, on her employability courses, Heather always conducts an end of term mock interview. She puts extra time into planning by compiling a list of interview questions appropriate to each individual student’s particular career interest, making this an invaluable experience for WEA students.
She is a great ambassador for the WEA and for social purpose, actively encouraging students to take part in fundraising activities and campaigning. In doing so, she helps strengthen the reputation of the WEA in Oxfordshire. She is a fantastic tutor and truly embodies the values of the WEA.