With only two days to go until the launch of the 2013 Signature Annual Awards we take a look at the story of last year’s winner in the category of Teacher of the Year. Perhaps your teacher deserves recognition, why not nominate them when nominations open online on Thursday 14 February?
Jon Palmer – 2012 Signature Annual Awards Teacher of the Year
Those who teach our qualifications are important to Signature and we are dedicated to ensuring that they receive the training and support they need in order to do their job. Some teachers go above and beyond what is expected of them and the winner of the 2012 Signature Teacher of the Year award, Jon Palmer, is no exception.
Following a varied and global career, Jon now works at the John Townsend Trust where he has fought hard to improve the communication skills of Deaf and Autistic young people. He refused to accept that they could not communicate and has helped many students to achieve Signature qualifications in British Sign Language (BSL), thereby improving their quality of life. An ex pupil of the school, Jon has a perfect understanding of what its pupils are experiencing. It enables him to empathise with what they are going through and he is an invaluable role model for them.
When he first joined ten years ago only a small number of staff had taken assessments in BSL. He encouraged the introduction of formal classes and the Signature Level 1 Award in British Sign Language is now an integral part of new employees’ contracts. Jon is also helping the management team to forge links with the local council, taking BSL out into the community. The centre is teaching BSL to staff at other special needs provisions, pupils at a local Grammar school and delivering Deaf Awareness to local primary schools. They have been approached to help teach BSL to foster carers in the area and Jon is teaching Deaf Awareness to staff at numerous NHS provisions. He has also taught local Police Officers up to Signature Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language, helping them to reach Deaf people throughout the community.
A very dynamic person, Jon inspires his learners and builds wonderful working relationships with them. He also has a keen interest in the safety and wellbeing of the young people he teaches and spent several years as an active member of the Child and Adult Protection Team.
Jon is keen to support the ongoing success of the John Townsend Trust volunteering in his own time as Staff Representative on the Education Standards Committee. He also supports the Education Business Partnership Kent every year by taking a group of young Deaf people in to mainstream schools to run workshops on health, society and development.