New Award Will Honour Teachers Who Bring Learning to Life Inside and Outside the Classroom

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Parents and pupils in Ireland can now reward the efforts of teachers who go above and beyond the call of classroom duty by entering them into a new national awards competition. The Teacher of the Year award aims to recognise and publicise the profession’s dedication to their students.

Malcolm O'Kelly at the Awards Launch

These awards are a great idea. Many people - myself included - can trace their choice of career back to the special effort that a particular teacher made to interest them in a subject.

Any current student, their parent or guardian can nominate a teacher whose inspirational approach to teaching not only stimulates learning but also encourages those with whom they come in contact to drive towards their dreams.

Sports star Malcolm O’Kelly – whose academic achievements match his many memorable performances in the green jersey of Ireland – helped launch the event recently.

The 35-year-old credits an inspirational maths teacher for helping to inspire him combine a successful rugby career with a master’s degree in mathematics and qualification as a civil engineer.

Malcolm’s commitment to education throughout a thirteen year career as a professional sportsman was recognised this year when he was appointed as a special ambassador for the engineering profession.

“These awards are a great idea. Many people – myself included – can trace their choice of career back to the special effort that a particular teacher made to interest them in a subject.

“For me, that happened in second and third year at Templeogue College in Dublin when my maths teacher Walter Rocket first got me interested in the process of solving theorems.

“I remember him as a great teacher with a passion for maths that he was able to pass on to his students. Mr Rocket made the subject really interesting. He took me under his wing and encouraged me to make the most of my abilities in mathematics, which has certainly benefited me later in life,” Malcolm explained.

The man who came up with the idea of creating national awards for inspirational teachers is Mark Bundschu from, who are sponsoring the awards. Mark has five young children, four of whom are in primary school and in his opinion the inspiration that many teachers offer can sometimes be forgotten amid the challenge of busy curriculums and the pressure of exams.

Mark observed, “I recently went to parent teacher meetings for my four daughters and was struck by how well the teachers knew the children and how passionate they were about their jobs. In the current climate where there is a great deal of discussion about teachers pay, it is sometimes forgotten what a great job they do.

“I am delighted that my involvement with ABC Bookshops has enabled us to sponsor an award which recognises their value. Teachers provide their pupils with the education needed to get a good start in life. They have the power to release every child’s potential and there are many inspirational people working within our schools that help change lives for the better.”

The awards are open to primary and secondary school teachers, and are designed to give students the opportunity to thank a teacher who has encouraged and motivated them, or perhaps just provided support and helped them have a happy school life

The winner of the Teacher of the Year Award 2010 will be announced at the INTO annual conference in Galway this April and will be presented by INTO President Máire Ní Chuinneagáin.

To nominate your teacher go to: Nominations for the Teacher of the Year Award 2010 close on 31st March. is an Irish online schoolbook company that offers parents the opportunity to search and purchase all of their children’s school books from the comfort of their own home. Specialists in education for 25 years, they stock all textbooks for schools throughout Ireland, across primary and secondary level. Unlike other internet retailers they have real shops which means they hold stocks all the time, making multiple trips to the bookstore a thing of the past.


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