Oliver McIntyre, a special needs teacher at Hillcrest Shifnal School, has been given a silver award for outstanding new teacher of the year in The Pearson National Teaching Awards.
The 25-year-old overcame his own challenges at school and was inspired by his teachers to begin a teaching career, and to use his own experiences to support young people with learning difficulties and social, emotional and mental health needs.
Teaching geography and history under a combined humanities subject means he keeps life varied for his students as they tackle tough topics and fierce debates.
Oliver said: “Whilst I was growing up I often struggled in school with my behaviour on account of my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder and other issues.
"While in education I was supported by fantastic teachers and teaching assistants who inspired me to be like them.
"Whilst studying for my PGCE I realised that I most enjoyed working with students who struggled in lessons due to social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) issues and learning difficulties and had similar behaviours to mine when I was a younger.
"I felt that I was able to make more tangible progress with these students than some of the other teachers.
"After successfully completing my PGCE I wanted to work in an environment that primarily focused on students who had SEMH and learning difficulties as I felt that this is where my skills and experiences could be best used to support them in making the best possible progress in a way that they can be proud of themselves.
“The main aspect of the job that I enjoy is helping the students achieve something. I find that they often have low confidence in their own abilities and believe that they will be unable to understand or accomplish tasks.
"My favourite part is when they realise that they’ve got the answer right when they thought they were going to get it wrong and then celebrating and praising their success.
"Witnessing their visible and tangible progress here is so fulfilling.
"I would strongly recommend trainee teachers to seriously consider taking up a role like mine.”
Oliver is now in the running for one of 14 gold awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC.
The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with.
This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former children’s laureate, and president of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “Over the past year, we have, all of us, come to appreciate and respect the value of teachers.
"They have so often been taken for granted. Not any more.
"Parents know now what it takes to teach, and teach well, and how much commitment, dedication and enthusiasm and knowledge and understanding, yes – and patience.
“Children know it too, if they didn’t before.
"So many missed their teachers, as well as their friends. We all honour them today.
"Let’s now praise them, wish them well and above all, thank them.”