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Hundreds of teachers are scoring top marks with their students and their students' parents, as nominations come flooding in for the Teacher of the Year Awards 2012.
The awards were launched two weeks ago by ABC Bookshop who put out a call to students, parents and teachers alike to nominate a teaching hero who deserves public recognition for the hard work they do every day.
‘We have been inundated with passionate nominations from students and parents from all over the country, wishing to say ‘thank you’ to wonderful teachers who have made a positive difference in their lives. It feels like the awards have touched a nerve as this outpouring of gratitude and thanks sees no end’ said Mark Bundschu, MD of ABC Bookshop and organiser of the awards.
Based on the nominations, it’s clear that it is commonplace for many teachers to give up their free time to give their students extra tuition for the Junior and Leaving Cert exams.
One nomination from a student in Monaghan stated in her nomination ‘I believe my English teacher Ms. Anne Lavelle is most deserving of this award. She uses her own notes when teaching us which are really easy to understand, and her commitment is unquestionable. During the Easter holidays she gave up her free time to teach us and also gives us one-to-one lessons during the week leading up to the exams.’
Many parents have also recognised the commitment of teachers with whom they entrust their children every day when they leave them at the school gate or wave them off from home.
‘Miss Smith gives children the most important thing that they can get out of their young school days: happy memories. To me as a mum that is more important than anything. How lovely it is to see your child run into a class room every day excited about the new things that the teacher will be introducing to them today. Thank you for giving mothers the chance to talk about how teachers can make a positive difference to our children’. Parent, Monaghan
‘My eldest son went to college and now is a soldier in the Irish Defence Forces thanks to the support and dedication of Mrs Cunningham. I would like to sincerely thank her for her support, dedication and hard work, and helping my children progress both personally and professionally’. Parent, Donegal
One student even composed a poem as his nomination for his teacher Mr McMahon:
'My teacher is great, there is nothing about him to hate.
His name is Mr McMahon and he always does what he can.
If I'm in trouble he's there on the double.
I like P.E and R.E and if I get stuck he comes to help you see.
He gives up his lunchtime and we are so lucky as he really likes footie.
Mr McMahon you are great, you leave us to the gate.
I really hope you win if you dont it will be a sin'.
Master Gallinagh, a teacher in Donegal has also received a passionate nomination from one of his students for his memorable teaching methods.
‘I would like to nominate Master Gallinagh for the Teacher of the Year Award. He installed a camera into our bird house so we could watch the birds eggs hatch, which was amazing. He coached the school basketball team. Every year he would host a Spelling Bee and the Spelling Bee champ would win a €20 cinema voucher, which he bought with his own money. He would play Bingo with us in Irish and give lollipops to the winners. If someone should win Teacher of the Year, I think 100% it should be Master Gallinagh’.
A parent in Louth tells how her daughter’s teacher helped her grow in confidence.
‘My daughter suffered from a lack of confidence when she started in Mrs. Cahill’s class on her 1st Communion Year in 2nd class. But each week we could see her coming out of her shell more and more. By the end of that year she wasn't afraid of standing up in class and reading Irish/English stories or completing a maths problem in front of the whole class and all that was down to Mrs. Cahill.’ Parent nomination, Louth
Due to government cut backs a small gaelscoil in Donegal is losing a much-loved teacher, Maistreas Roisin, and one of her students has made a pasionate plea to make her Teacher of the Year, to show her how much they care and how much she will be missed when she goes.
‘Maistreas Roisin bakes a cup cake with one candle on it for anyone who’s birthday it is, and even though there is 31 students in our class, she remembers them all. When we went swimming she helped me dry my hair because it is so long. Once when we went to a pantomime and I forgot my money, she gave me €5 for sweets. Sadly we will have to say goodbye to Maistreas Roisin at the end of this school year. Because of the cutbacks we are losing a teacher, and we are very sad about that. We are a 3 teacher school and we are like a little family. Losing Roisin is going to be very hard on us. We will be so sad saying goodbye, knowing she will not be there in September. So please please show Roisin how much we think of her and how much we will miss her, and make her Teacher of the Year.'
The judging panel have no small task in choosing a winner from these thoughtful and heart-warming nominations, which reveal the depth of commitment and care that teachers give in our Primary and Secondary schools every day. The judging panel consists of Mark Bundschu, MD of ABC Bookshop and Organiser of the awards, Michelle Coyle of David McConville Orthodontics who is sponsor of the awards and Rory Kavanagh, teacher and GAA county player who is the ambassador of the awards.
Speaking about the role of teachers, Kavanagh said ‘Teaching is a vocation, and as a teacher myself I understand how much care and commitment you put in to help your students be the best they can be. School can be very tough for students, they have so much to deal with at that age. As teachers we try to make it easier for them, and If I can say that I have made a positive difference in any small way, then I feel very rewarded.
Nominations close on 15th June, afterwhich one teacher from Primary schools and one teacher from Secondary schools will be announced.
The winners will receive:
A Perpetual Trophy
A Framed Certificate
€100 Gift Certificate redeemable at www.abcbooks.ie
A Luxury weekend package in one of Ireland’s top hotels
The distinguished title Teacher of the Year 2012
Photo caption : Students at Scoil Cholmchille NS, Donegal with their teacher Rory Kavanagh
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