Prize delight for the probationer who never tires

9th July 2010 at 01:00
Lois Lurinsky had more than most to celebrate at the end of term. Not only was she awarded the accolade of "probationary teacher of the year" in the Scottish Education Awards, she was also given a one-year teaching contract for next year.

She has spent her induction year at Dalmarnock Primary in Glasgow where her headteacher, Nancy Clunie, describes her work as "inspirational". The look on her P1 pupils' faces says it all as they gaze up at Miss Lurinsky. The judges commented that her pupils "never want to be absent".

"Lois has brought to me the delight of working with a self-motivated, enthusiastic and committed teacher," said Mrs Clunie. "I often have to remind myself that she has accomplished all of this in only seven months."

Another teacher in the school, with many years of experience, added that Lois had "revitalised" her and "brought joy to the infant department". She has certainly been instrumental in encouraging her colleagues to embrace more active learning methods.

The young teacher's energy levels and achievements in her first year in the classroom are impressive:

- At Christmas, she volunteered to organise an infant nativity play, the first the school had held. She prepared the music, rehearsed with more than 100 children, and put on two sell-out events. Having seen how it helped boost the children's confidence and self-esteem, the other teachers have vowed to continue with it next year, when Lois has moved to her new school, Avenue End Primary in Glasgow.

- She co-ordinated the P1-3 classes and their teachers to work collaboratively on two cross-curricular, cross-stage topics - on the seaside and the circus - and tied the first into the school's Comenius project.

- She introduced her pupils to vocabulary from Dalmarnock's Comenius partner schools in Spain, Greece and Poland and visited the Spanish school to share best practice.

- Along with another member of staff, she started a science and engineering after-school club for P4-5, having undertaken training at Glasgow Science Centre.

- She established a social committee for staff, helping to boost team spirit.

Miss Lurinsky has embraced every opportunity for continuing professional development that has come her way - and more.

With one of her pupils attending class only one day a week and at a communications unit for the rest of the week, she made numerous visits to observe the unit's work. She was determined to ensure she was adopting similar approaches so she could ease the child's eventual transition to full-time mainstream schooling.

Miss Lurinsky's first degree was in tourism and languages, so she enrolled in a course to teach French in primary, on a Tuesday night in her own time.

Invited to be part of Glasgow City Council's support group for other probationers, she has helped set up a self-help group for those who teach early-level classes in the city.

The 26-year-old's fiance is training to be a primary teacher and she believes she has infected him with her enthusiasm for the job. Her father was a school janitor at Dumfries Academy, so she has been brought up around teachers.

Dalmarnock colleagues of the probationer of the year say they wish they could clone her. Miss Lurinsky says: "I've found my niche. I feel I'm getting paid to do something I really enjoy."

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