Inspirational Teacher from Tavistock College Wins Prestigious Gold Plato Award
By VAllen2012 | Monday, October 21, 2013, 11:40
Students, parents and staff are celebrating today after Tavistock College Teacher Crispin Chambers was announced Secondary Teacher of the Year at the Pearsons Teaching Awards Ceremony last night.
Crispin Chambers with Clare Balding
Often called the 'Oscars for Teachers', the awards recognise individual contributions to scholarship and learning, with winners receiving a gold Plato - the ultimate symbol of excellence in education.
Crispin Chambers was nominated by headteacher Helen Salmon who said he 'lives and breathes' teaching; 'He is a natural and picks up every nuance in a classroom.' He has established a highly effect department within the MFL faculty and 'constantly finds new ways to present his subject in ways that fascinate and enthuse young people'.
She said: 'He is extraordinary. He has great humility – he is truly in it for the students. I am very proud to have a teacher of this calibre in our school.'
The Japanese Embassy describes his 'great effect' on young people and the Japan Foundation says he is 'a trailblazer' for the language, having helped to train many of the staff now teaching Japanese in around 300 schools in the UK.
Crispin Chambers is a pioneer for Japanese teaching beyond Tavistock, helping to train many teachers since he studied at Nottingham University 18 years ago. He acts as a mentor to student teachers from Nottingham and Plymouth universities and has specifically helped five other schools set up Japanese departments.
The UK judges were touched by the genuine affection for Crispin Chambers, expressed by students, parents and colleagues. They 'cannot speak highly enough of him' and believe he will always 'go the extra 1000 miles' for them.
Numerous people gave evidence during the judging visits - including the mayor of Tavistock who believes that a statue should be erected in the town to recognise and thank this exemplary teacher.
The head of sixth form said: 'He is inspirational, phenomenal, full of energy that he invests totally in the pupils. He's in love with his subject.' When he asked students to e-mail him about Crispin, he received over 200 e-mails about what made him so special.
A senior leader at the school said: 'I feel the special buzz that indicates high engagement, enjoyment and rapid progress (of students). Crispin is unique; what he does is original.'
Crispin Chambers' results are outstanding - at GCSE more than half of students consistently achieve an A or A* and more than 80 per cent achieve grades A*- C. He runs a calligraphy club after school to foster Japanese writing.
From next September all primary schools In England will have to teach at least one modern foreign language and Tavistock's 16 feeder primaries are already at an advantage since Mr Chambers visits them in his AST role.
One primary head said: 'Crispin has given Japanese lessons which have inspired our children to learn about other cultures and languages. In this monocultural community he is vitally important.'
The annual Japanese exchange is described as 'life changing'. Twenty Year 11 and Year 13 students go to Tokyo and live with host families for part of the fortnight. They then act as hosts and interpreters when Japanese students pay a return visit to Tavistock.
One parent said: 'The exchange is a magical experience for the students. They rise to meet his incredibly high expectations.' Another said: 'Our children learn so much from the Japanese students whose behaviour is impeccable. They come back different people and grow so much.'
Parents said Mr Chambers had changed the perspective of the town: 'He has taken Tavistock global and introduced students to the world.'
A representative from the Japanese Embassy said: 'Crispin promotes mutual understanding and friendships. He has had a great effect on the students' future. Due to him the number of Japanese speakers in the UK has increased immeasurably.'
Crispin leads on professional development across all subjects and gives 'top quality feedback'. One teacher said: 'The guy is legendary in teaching. The improvements he made in my marking was overnight.'
A teacher born in Japan who was trained by Crispin said: 'He developed my strengths and spotted my weaknesses. With his help I got my first job in teaching (in the UK). Crispin is the seed for Japanese teaching and through his guidance I have blossomed.'
Since winning his award in the South West this summer Crispin's message board on the Teaching Awards website has had more than 80 postings – possibly a record!
'Congratulations Chambers Sensei!' writes former student David Roden. 'You completely deserve this recognition…Without you and the rest of the Japanese department, I probably would not be living and studying in Tokyo right now. Your passion for Japanese was addictive, and you were always so easy to learn from.'
A television programme showing the ceremony and the award winners at work in their classrooms, will be broadcast in an hour-long programme called "Britain's Classroom Heroes" on Sunday 27 October on BBC2 at 17.30 hrs.