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Chemistry teacher tops NZ

June 19, 2014

Chemistry teacher tops NZ

St Cuthbert’s College teacher Ian Torrie has been named one of the top teachers in New Zealand.

The Chemistry teacher was honoured at the National Excellence in Teaching Awards last month, where he was the only Auckland recipient of an ASG Excellence in Teaching Award for secondary education.

“Ian is one of the finest teachers I have ever encountered,” says St Cuthbert’s Associate Principal and Head of Senior School Helen Robertson.

“Student evaluations consistently rank Ian at the top level and every year former students attribute their success in tertiary science studies to him as the teacher that ignited their interest.”

As Head of Chemistry, Ian is responsible for an explosion in the number of students choosing to take the subject. Almost half of Year 12 and 13 girls study chemistry, making it in the top three subject choices at the College. Nationally the participation rate is around 20%.

Under Ian’s guidance the College’s average NCEA Chemistry results have climbed steadily and are typically at least 50% higher than the national average, showing the strength of his teaching and leadership in the Chemistry department.

He is known to arrive at school at 7am to run student tutorials and also shares his expertise with more than 500 Chemistry teachers nationwide in an email newsletter that provides information, resources and industry discussion.

Ian says he became a teacher “by accident” but was hooked after witnessing a students’ light bulb moment during his first practicum.

“Those ongoing ‘a-ha’ moments, plus the positive feedback I get from students and colleagues keep motivating me.”

In a career that spans two decades, Ian has received a score of awards recognising his teaching achievements:
• ASG Excellence in Teaching Award at the NEiTA awards (2014)
• ISNZ Service to Chemistry Leadership in New Zealand award (2013)
• NZIC Denis Hogan Chemical Education Award (2009)
• Royal Society of New Zealand Science and Technology Bronze (2000)
• British Council Science Teacher of the Year Award (1997)

Chemistry NCEA Results
Level 1 National GPA: 54 | St Cuthbert’s GPA: 81
Level 2 National GPA: 55 | St Cuthbert’s GPA: 81
Level 3 National GPA: 45 | St Cuthbert’s GPA: 70


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