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James Fuller nominated as top first-year teacher

F.P. Walshe school teacher James Fuller has been nominated for the Alberta School Board Association's Edwin Parr Award, presented to the best first-year teacher in Alberta.

Students at F.P. Walshe school think new teacher James Fuller is going places — and so does the school administration.
Fuller has been nominated by the F.P. Walshe school administration for the Alberta School Board Association’s Edwin Parr Award.
The award, named after a 1920’s Athabasca area homesteader who took a great interest in the education of young people, is presented annually to six exemplary first-year teachers across the province.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, 25-year-old Fuller first came to F.P. Walshe as a student teacher last year.
“He did such a great job as a student teacher, and built such a good rapport with students and staff, that when we had the opportunity to hire James for this school year we jumped at the opportunity,” F.P. Walshe principal Robert Rodgers said.
“His classroom is very dynamic. He’s a very engaging teacher, not just because of his personality, but because he’s very conscious of the activities and methods he uses to assist students in learning the prescribed outcomes.”
One thing that has impressed Rodgers about Fuller is that the novice teacher has very few problems with students misbehaving in class.
“This is rare for beginning teachers,” Rodgers said. “Many of them struggle with classroom management, but not James. It’s because he has such an engaging classroom.”
Fuller has also made a significant contribution in other areas, offering field trips for students and working hard to continue to develop as a teacher, Rodgers added.
“He already is an excellent educator, and will continue to grow and improve,” Rodgers said. “We have been fortunate to have him on our staff this year.”
Fuller teaches Social Studies 20, Sociology 30, and Career and Technology Studies (CTS) 10-12 at F.P. Walshe.
Grade 11 student Nathan Orr wasn’t surprised to hear Fuller had been nominated for the award.
“He’s really good,” said the 17-year-old Orr, who was in Fuller’s CTS class. “He really connects with students. He knows how students are thinking. He relates well to them.”
Brendon Rivard, 17, also a Grade 11 student at F.P. Walshe, agreed.
“He’s a teacher to look up to,” Rivard said. “He’s respectful of everyone. He’s a fun teacher, but he knows where to draw the line. He’s not rude about it. I really respect him.”
“When he talks he’s inspiring,” Rivard said. “His words move. He knows what he’s talking about.”
Rivard thinks Fuller has a great future ahead of him.
“He probably doesn’t know it, but he’s going places,” Rivard said. “He’s young, but he has wisdom.”
Fuller isn’t quite sure he deserves all the laurels.
“To be honest, I’m not sure I deserve this,” Fuller said. “I take pride in what I do, and I find it amazing I am being honoured with the nomination for teaching in a manner that I see as only natural. It’s such an honour, and I am so thankful to have such amazing colleagues who recognize my passion as extra-ordinary. This is a very inspirational experience.”
Fuller graduated from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute in 2003 and attended a semester at Capernwray Bible College in New Zealand for a semester.
Fuller later attended the University of Lethbridge graduating in the summer of 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education. His major is social studies.
“I’ve always had a desire to teach,” Fuller said. “I was constantly involved in working at kids’ camps and coaching. However, it wasn’t until my later years in high school that I realized I wanted to pursue teaching. Without question, my main motivation for teaching is the desire to work with young people — to help them understand the world they live in, and to hopefully be a positive role in their lives.”
Not surprisingly, it was a Lethbridge teacher who inspired Fuller to become a teacher.
“I had a teacher, Lola Major, who taught me high school social studies,” Fuller said. “Besides my mother, she was a very powerful influence in my life. She taught me the importance of being a lifelong learner. She teaches because she cares about the well being of all of her students. She did all she could for us. Everyone loves her.”
Fuller’s family also played an integral part in his decision to pursue the teaching profession.
“My father, brother, aunt, and uncle are all teachers,” Fuller said. “I’ve been blessed with having a compassionate family, and it felt only natural to follow in their footsteps. Having such a loving and giving mother was also a key factor in deciding what to do with my life.”
Next step for Fuller is an Alberta School Board Association interview later this month followed by a May 11 banquet in Taber when the Zone 6 (Palliser Regional) winner will be announced.
Then at a later function the Edwin Parr award presentations will be made to a total of six novice teachers from the various Alberta School Association zones.

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