Inspirational educators win praise online

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 12/02/2014

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Whether it was due to boosting their pub trivia quiz knowledge, convincing them to follow a career path into teaching or making tough subjects more understandable, Manawatu teachers have received the tick of approval from former pupils.

New Zealanders have taken to the internet to post messages to the school teachers who had the greatest impact on their lives, through an online initiative called InspiredbyU.

The website was launched this week by Education Minister Hekia Parata in the lead-up to the Festival of Education, which starts next month.

It lets people send their teachers a virtual postcard saying thanks, with past and present Manawatu teachers featuring among the hundreds to receive a message of gratitude.

A former Feilding High School pupil calling himself Phil said his history teacher Cliff McNeil passed on a love of social studies, geography and history.

"You not only inspired me to go on to study, then teach in these areas but gave me a life-long love of history in particular, which has also been handy for pub trivia - thank you for sharing a passion which has shaped my life."

Celia from Longburn Adventist College said her teacher Cecilly Leach had helped her inside and outside the classroom.

"You had faith in me that with some guidance I could find the right path ... I often think of you and know that you influenced my decision to be a teacher - that belief in a person and connection to a person can make a difference, thank you."

Kristina from Manawatu College, in Foxton, said her English teacher David Allan, who still teaches part-time, made the subject more enjoyable and extended her learning.

Manawatu College principal Bruce McIntyre said it was nice to see teachers being taken note of for all the right reasons.

"Any vehicle that provides positive feedback is a good initiative, because it's encouraging to those that receive it and often in life there's not enough of it."

The website was designed to recognise and celebrate teachers who had made a difference to their students' lives, Ms Parata said.

Say thanks to your teacher at inspiredbyU.org.nz.

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- Manawatu Standard

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