A Rotorua teacher with a passion for making a difference will be honoured with a national teaching award.

John Paul College’s Marie Hepi is one of 18 regional recipients, selected from almost 200 community nominations throughout New Zealand, to be awarded an ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award.

Now in its 21st year, the awards gave the community the opportunity to formally thank and recognise outstanding and dedicated teachers who were passionate about driving a world class education system and encouraged students to reach their full potential.

Ms Hepi has always wanted to make a difference in the world and her teaching was “tried and true” with importance placed on students having “learner agency”.

Organisers of the awards said Ms Hepi encouraged students to plan their goals and pathways, teaching them how and where to access necessary strategies to improve learning.

Restorative justice was used when correcting students and she taught strategies for students to be more resilient when meeting problems.

Ms Hepi told the Rotorua Daily Post she was “extremely excited” about the award.

She had known for a while but the awards weren’t announced until yesterday.

“I was bursting to tell people. I feel very privileged.”

The teacher of 41 years described her role at John Paul College as more of a “vocation” than a job.

“It’s like it’s my mission I have that I will make a difference for children.”

She said her teaching philosphy was based on the teachings of St John Baptist de La Salle, who is the patron saint of teachers.

“It is not just about curriculum, it is about teaching them to be a good person.”

ASG NEiTA chief executive John Velegrinis said educators like Ms Hepi recognised that “it takes a village to raise a child”, which was testament to their dedication and the impact they had on the lives of those they served in local communities.

“In many respects, teaching is about giving, not only to children and students but to their families and the community networks around them. Some of the ASG NEiTA recipients come from very small towns and do represent the heartbeat of these communities.

“These teachers have an enormous responsibility in shaping and guiding these young people as well as supporting the educational aspirations families have for their children.”

The awards are classed into early childhood, primary and secondary categories.

ASG NEiTA chairman Allen Blewitt said the awards highlighted a long history of positive relationships being built between teachers and their communities.

“These teachers are also mentors and the influence they have on young people is remarkable as they learn to appreciate the value of lifelong learning as they navigate their life journeys.”

After further assessment, six national NEiTA recipients will selected from the 18 regional recipients.

The national award recipients will be announced in February 2018.

Source: Rotorua Daily Post


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