Dr Rebecca Bird
Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching
Teaching Fellow, Department of Anatomy, the University of Otago
“There is nothing more satisfying as a teacher than watching students have that ‘lightbulb moment’ – where everything clicks into place and suddenly makes sense”.
Rebecca is one of those rare teachers who inspires and arouses a love of deep learning in her students, triggering the same passion she felt when exploring human biology. She is student-centred, inclusive and at the heart of everything she does are her students’ unique needs, motivations and dreams. She is passionate about helping Māori students to succeed and those who struggle and are at risk of failing. She sees her role as a guide helping students find their way through the often overwhelming path through university, and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
It is this extraordinary ability to nurture individual students’ academic ability combined with pastoral care experiences that have profoundly affected them. This talent has also made her a natural leader of her peers. Students attest to Rebecca being their inspiration. One writes, “I wouldn’t be in medicine without her assistance and teaching throughout the year”, while a peer states that she models her training sessions on Rebecca’s teaching so that she too can get the best out of the students.