Teacher sets benchmark
Lesley Johnston’s face lights up when she talks about education and the passion she has for her job.
The Firth School new entrant teacher has been awarded an allowance in recognition of her teaching skills. She will get an allowance of $5000 every year for as long as she continues to meet the eligibility and Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher professional criteria.
While she doesn’t want to ‘‘ blow her own trumpet’’, Johnston felt the allowance was recognition for the hard work she puts into the career she loves so much.
‘‘ There are thousands of teachers who work incredibly hard and do magnificent things and unless you go into leadership, you don’t get financially recognised. The ministry is now wanting to recognise those teachers but also keep those teachers in the classroom.’’
Johnston shyly admits she has always gone above and beyond for her students.
‘‘For me, it’s all about trying to make education really exciting for children so they are hooked in, engaged, energised and able to see the relevance of what they’re doing. I’ve always tried to find creative ways of doing that.’’
When she heard about the Ministry of Education’s latest initiative, she thought she would look into what was required.
However, once she realised what was required she thought about it for a long time. It would involve a lot of hard work. She said once she decided to give it a go, it was a ‘‘huge undertaking’’.
But little did she know the New Zealand Educational Institute would class her completed portfolio as ‘‘particularly exemplary’’.
Feedback said her submission was ‘‘a wonderfully creative demonstration of exemplary practice and student engagement’’.
Her work is now being kept as a benchmark.
Firth School acting principal, Jeanette Malligan, said everyone knew Johnston was ‘‘one out of the box’’. She said the school community was really proud of their teacher’s achievements.
‘‘I think they knew Lesley was special anyway.’’
Johnston, who has been teaching for 12 years after retraining, was one of a total of 19 teachers recognised with ACET allowances throughout the Waikato region.
She found the process of assessing her own work while preparing her submission very beneficial.
‘‘As a teacher you’re always enquiring into your own teaching and trying to do things better or looking at what you did well and what you can carry forward into the next lesson or whether you change things.’’
She honestly thought she didn’t have a hope in gaining the allowance.
‘‘I didn’t really think I had done my work to the criteria so I was blown away to find not only that I’d passed but they thought it was a really good one.’’
She said the process has been reaffirming of a job well done.