Favourite Teacher Awards: Scott Feisst named a winner after banning homework

Scott Feist from Selwyn Ridge Primary School is a finalist in the Favourite Teachers competition. Feisst was nominated ...
Matt Shand

Scott Feist from Selwyn Ridge Primary School is a finalist in the Favourite Teachers competition. Feisst was nominated by his student Macy Andersen.

FAVOURITE TEACHER AWARDS: From the Christchurch quake tragedy to Parliament's select committees, we're travelling the country to meet some of New Zealand's best teachers.

Year five student Macy Andersen has many reasons why Scott Feisst is her favourite teacher, but perhaps one stands out in particular. "He never gives us any homework to do," she says. "Ever."

Today, he was named the Bay of Plenty winner of the Favourite Teacher Awards, a partnership between Stuff, TVNZ Breakfast and Matilda, the Musical. The other regional winners will be named on Monday morning, and the overall winner will be named next Sunday.

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Feisst is a teacher of 20 years' experience with seven of those being at Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Tauranga. He argues homework does little to help children develop at a primary school age and the time spent doing it is best served on extra curricular activities. 

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"Whether it's sports, after school programmes or playing board games with parents putting homework on top of that is just too much pressure," he said. "It's about being able to spend more time with family. As a dad that's what I love doing."

Scott Feist from Selwyn Ridge Primary School is a finalist in the Favourite Teachers competition. Feisst was nominated ...
Matt Shand

Scott Feist from Selwyn Ridge Primary School is a finalist in the Favourite Teachers competition. Feisst was nominated by his student Macy Andersen.

Feisst's popularity does not stop at his "no homework" policy and his students enjoy his commitment to physical education and learning by doing approach to teaching.

He often arranges special classes or trips for his students. Recently a photographer gave a class for his students and soon the school was filled with camera toting youngsters on an artistic mission. 

"It was about learning how each student sees art differently," he said. 

"I love to teach children new games like Turbo Touch and Ultimate Frisbee. Physical education is a big part of what I enjoy about teaching."

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Ultimately Feisst enjoys being with the children year after year and giving them a good start to life and that enthusiasm is returned in kind by his students. 

Macy was delighted to hear her favourite teacher had made the national finals of the Favourite Teacher Awards and could not stop jumping for joy when she met up with him for photos this week.

"He is really supportive of students and helpful whenever someone is really sad," she said. 

"When I did some maths and was having a hard time understanding it he helped me a lot. 

"I hope he teaches year 6 next year so he can teach me again."

 - Sunday Star Times

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