Teacher one of 'best in the country'

'It's those moments where kids' eyes light up'

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 08:07 28/05/2014
Elly Warnock
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

TOP TEACHER: Russell St school assistant principal Elly Warnock, seen here with Eva Kenyon, 6, and Juliette Green, 6, was one of 13 teachers picked for a National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA) leadership awards.

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A Palmerston North teacher who encourages her pupils to take action has been named as one of the best educators in the country.

Russell Street School teacher and assistant principal Elly Warnock was one of 12 New Zealand teachers given a National Excellence in Teaching Award (NEiTA).

The recognition is given to teachers and leaders from the early childhood, primary, intermediate and secondary school sectors, with nominations coming from parents, grandparents, guardians, school boards or parent associations - Warnock was nominated by a board trustee.

"We don't come into the profession to get recognised in that way, we come into the profession to make a change in kids' lives," Warnock said. "The fact that someone recognised that and took the effort to put a nomination together is a humbling experience."

Warnock taught year 1 and 2 pupils last year, and as part of her nomination she compiled a portfolio of her teaching programmes.

One of her strategies was encouraging new entrants toward "self agency", or teaching children about the power to act.

"It's the kids knowing themselves really well as learners and being able to take action from that," she said.

Warnock has been a teacher for 11 years, six of those at Russell Street School, and the best part of her job was the interaction with children and co-workers, she said.

"It's those moments where kids' eyes light up when they've learnt something for the first time and they're grasping a new concept, that's really rewarding.

"I have been so fortunate throughout my career to work with passionate, stimulating and intelligent colleagues who have helped inform my practice and challenged my approach to learning and teaching."

Warnock works with children who have a wide range of education abilities, including learning difficulties and gifted children.

She introduced e-portfolios to showcase their work to parents through regular updates - a concept praised by the judges.

They said Warnock's classroom activities showed a high level of child engagement, with each task targeted to the needs and interests of her pupils.

NEiTA chief executive John Velegrinis said recipients like Warnock were education leaders of the highest calibre.

"It is so heartening to meet teaching professionals who are so committed to bringing out the best in our children academically and socially."

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- Manawatu Standard

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