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Highland Heroes: Vote for your Primary Teacher of the Year

By Leah Williamson

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Beth Fuller and Ethan Walker are in the running to land the award.
Beth Fuller and Ethan Walker are in the running to land the award.

Beth Fuller, Muirtown Primary School

MUIRTOWN Primary School teacher Beth Fuller has proved to be hugely popular, not just among her pupils but their families too, throughout her six years at the school.

Not only has she been praised for her skills as a teacher, but also the support she has given to her pupils.

In fact, one nominator said her son had had her for the past three years but was really going to miss her once he moves on from P7 to the big school!

Miss Fuller has also been praised for her lead role in the school’s digital transformation in response to the pandemic when remote learning became a necessity.

She was named digital innovator of the year which also recognises the digital achievements of the whole school, and is now a silver Pearson UK Teaching Award winner for digital innovation.

But the praise for Miss Fuller goes beyond her technological expertise and efforts!

A nomination said: “He has struggled in school since nursery but since he’s had Miss Fuller as his teacher I can honestly say it’s made a massive difference.

“She’s a fantastic teacher, goes out of her way to help, always listens and is always on the end of the phone.

“The kids all love her as their teacher and she definitely deserves an award.”

Now in her sixth year at the school, Miss Fuller said: “What started as an interest in making learning more exciting and accessible through the use of digital technology became a necessity to translate our curriculum to an online platform during turbulent circumstances. It’s been quite a transformation. The upskilling of both pupils and staff has been remarkable.

“But having the children back in is wonderful. Nothing takes the place of a full classroom and people who are happy to be there, engaged and eager to learn.

“It’s seeing the difference you can make in terms of children’s confidence.

“It’s always fantastic to have that lightbulb moment but also giving pupils a sense of what they can achieve is so important.

“Everybody’s skills are so different and everyone has something that makes them special. It’s about helping children identify theirs.”

On hearing she had been shortlisted for the primary school teacher of the year award at this year’s Highland Heroes, Miss Fuller added: “I feel very privileged that people have taken the time out of their day to nominate me, that’s lovely. It feels great to be recognised for a job you love.”

Vote here

Ethan Walker, Golspie Primary School

THIS may be probationer Ethan Walker’s first year of teaching but he has already proved a huge hit with his pupils, their families and colleagues at Golspie Primary School.

Mr Walker’s secret seems to be making lessons as fun and as enjoyable – as well as educational – for his primary four pupils.

A nomination highlighted the efforts he has made to engage his pupils with craft projects, fundraising and enjoying their time in class, including making a Christmas CD and filling charity shoeboxes with donations: “He is a huge asset to our school.

“He is approachable, understanding and makes sure every child is included, encouraged and achieving.

“Quite honestly there isn’t enough praise for this man!

“He goes way beyond what is required and his hard work and dedication deserves to be acknowledged. He has worked tirelessly to incorporate extra fun things.

“His classroom looks like something from Pinterest and must be seen to be believed.

“I have seen my own child go from strength to strength and gain confidence in areas she massively lacked before.

“Mr Walker is the type of teacher that children will remember fondly for years to come.

“Every school needs a Mr Walker, every child deserves a Mr Walker.

“He has encouraged the children’s creativity, generosity and inspired them all to enjoy learning.

“He has the ability to encourage each child to do their best and many parents have reported their children now enjoy school and how he makes learning fun for his class.”

Pictured with nephew, William, Mr Walker, from Alness, was thrilled to be shortlisted: “I was surprised!

“This is my first year of teaching.

“It’s a surprise that people think I’m doing anything different from any other teacher.

“This is what I’ve always wanted to do.

“I knew for a fact that I wanted to get into teaching and I thought primary teaching would be more suited to me because you can be more creative and do a lot of fun stuff.

“Every day is different. Kids can say the weirdest things so coming to school every day is never the same!

“They always have something to surprise you with, that’s my favourite part.

“Primary four is the year they really start to grow up and get some independence, and already in the last six months – what a difference in all of them.

“They are so much more confident and that’s something I try my hardest to get across to them.”

Vote here

Words from the category sponsor: Ptarmigan Homes sales and marketing manager, Angela Roy, said: “Teachers play one of the most important roles in the development of our children and as they grow, their lives are shaped by those who care for and nurture their wellbeing. The importance of this is invaluable and will impact not only their education but also their mental health.

“Ptarmigan Homes is a family business that wholly believes in recognising the importance this can make and as such wants to recognise and reward those primary teachers who are making a positive impact on our children’s futures through valuing each child’s unique abilities and encouraging them to grow.

“Children are our future and primary teachers are unequivocally the early driving force of their success. To help children develop their own skills and celebrate their success in the early years will inevitably establish a healthy mindset for the future.”

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