Award just about sums it up

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

Help­ing youngsters un­der­stand and en­joy math­e­mat­ics has won a Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School teacher a pres­ti­gious na­tional award.

Jo­hanna McHardy was awarded a Woolf Fisher Fel­low­ship for ex­cel­lence in teach­ing.

The award will pay for her and her hus­band to go over­seas for three weeks to the des­ti­na­tion of her choice, where she will re­search math­e­mat­ics.

Teach­ers can’t ap­ply for the fel­low­ship, but are se­lected by the trust.

“It was the most lovely sur­prise,” she says.

The award was pre­sented to Mrs McHardy on Oc­to­ber 13.

Af­ter tu­tor­ing for more than a decade, she de­cided to train as a teacher and started at the school in 2002.

“I did maths for a very long time, just not in a school en­vi­ron­ment. I en­joy the chal­lenge and joy of maths and im­part­ing that to stu­dents.”

Work­ing with young peo­ple and help­ing them to en­joy their ed­u­ca­tion is her pas­sion.

“It’s not just about maths, it’s about life and giv­ing them path­ways.”

Al­though she hasn’t de­cided where to go on her fel­low­ship, she has a daugh­ter study­ing as a Com­mon­wealth scholar at Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity in Eng­land who she would like to visit on her trav­els.

She is also in­ter­ested in go­ing to the Freuden­thal In­sti­tute in Hol­land or pos­si­bly vis­it­ing Hun­gary or Rus­sia.

Plan­ning the trip will have to wait un­til school is fin­ished and her stu­dents have sat their schol­ar­ship and NCEA ex­ams, she says.

“I’m go­ing to con­sult with my stu­dents about when they think the trip would have the least im­pact on their stud­ies. I don’t want it to im­pact neg­a­tively on them.”

On her trav­els she hopes to visit dif­fer­ent schools to see the way maths is taught and get ideas to ap­ply to her teach­ing when she re­turns.

“It’s al­ways good to broaden your hori­zons and look for new ways of do­ing things.”

Trust sec­re­tary Nigel Evans says past fel­lows and mem­bers of the pub­lic make rec­om­men­da­tions about re­cip­i­ents.

The trust also looks at how schools are do­ing over­all and gets con­fi­den­tial com­ments from board of trustees mem­bers once they have short­listed candidates.

The win­ners don’t find out un­til they get a let­ter in the mail.

Dr Evans says Mrs McHardy is do­ing a great job with math­e­mat­ics at her school.

“She’s ab­so­lutely ded­i­cated, just the kind of teacher we are try­ing to find.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Ded­i­cated teacher: Jo­hanna McHardy has won a na­tional award for ex­cel­lence in teach­ing.

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