Southern Institute of Technology hairdressing tutor Donna Bowman is in the running for national recognition.
She is one of three finalists for the 2013 Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation tutor of the year award.
Ms Bowman has been teaching for more than 20 years and had never thought of sending in an application. "I was blackmailed into it," she said.
Tutors send in a detailed application about their teaching and achievements. The application also includes letters of support from students, other tutors and from the industry.
"People have encouraged me to do it for a long time. I got huge support from students and in the industry. Knowing that people really support us is more than an award for me."
However, she said all teachers do the best they can.
"Lots of people do jobs like this that do it just as well or even better. You just do the best job that you can and have some success along the way."
Ms Bowman spends most of her time teaching third-year apprentices and fulltime second-year students. She said the most rewarding thing for her was teaching students skills they would be using not only in hairdressing but throughout their lives.
"I love being able to pass on the knowledge that I've learned."
Her biggest inspiration was Jeanette Deacon, who started teaching hairdressing in Invercargill in the 1970s at the Southland Community College.
"She inspired me to become a teacher and taught me a lot about what I needed to know to be good at it," Ms Bowman said.
Regardless of the award outcome, she insists she will keep teaching.
"If I could live my life again, I'd still do the same job. Let's just see what happens."
The results will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Auckland War Museum on October 20.
Michael Schwer is an SIT journalism student
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