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Nusum thrilled to win top teaching award

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Big winner: Sharmaine Nusum won the Outstanding Teacher Award at the Bermuda Education Network fundraiser on Saturday (Photograph by Jamie Macmillan/Moongate Productions)

Sharmaine Nusum has not looked back since she stepped into a classroom for the first time.

Now, the 45-year-old social studies teacher has been named Outstanding Teacher 2018 by the Bermuda Education Network.

Ms Nusum, who teaches M3 at TN Tatem Middle School, said: “I am pleased, honoured and surprised.

“My favourite part about the job is that every day is a new day. Every day is a challenge. Every day is an opportunity to do better and to be better at your craft.”

Ms Nusum, who helped design the Bermuda Connections Cultural Resource Guide for classrooms, decided to become a teacher because she enjoyed working with children.

She said: “Initially, I thought I wanted to be a child psychologist because my bachelor’s degree is in psychology and social sciences, but I enjoy working with children.

“I chose education and haven’t looked back since the first day I stepped into the classroom. It’s a job I love.”

She said a crucial skill for a good teacher was the ability to reflect.

Ms Nusum, from Southampton, said: “There will be some days where some things work for you really well and there are other days that don’t work so well — it doesn’t go according to that great lesson plan.

“So you need to be able to reflect and use it as an opportunity to do better and be better.”

For anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps, she suggested visiting a few classrooms to find out what being a teacher really involves.

Ms Nusum said: “You can read every textbook there is but nothing will prepare you for what you do daily in the classroom.

“It’s an exciting job. It can be challenging at times but it can also be very rewarding.”

Last year’s winner, Dellwood Middle School maths teacher Kelly Donville, presented Ms Nusum with the award at the Chinese New Year Celebration-themed BEN fundraiser on Saturday.

Board members introduced the nominees, with Ms Nusum described as a “master of classroom management”, who worked to make every lesson count.

She was also described as a respected leader in the social studies field, which she has taught for 19 years.

Becky Ausenda, BEN executive director, said Ms Nusum embodied the charity’s principles “of giving children a very engaging experience during her lessons”.

Ms Ausenda added: “When we observed her in her classroom, she was bringing history to life. She uses a lot of innovative techniques.

“Her classroom management was exceptional and it was evident that her relationship with all of her students was exceptionally good. Those are the marks of a really outstanding classroom teacher.”

Ms Ausenda said they decided to create the award because “some of our best teachers in the system are at risk of feeling a little burnt out”.

She added: “When that happens, there are going to be a number of contributing factors but one of them is feeling underappreciated by the community.

“We decided we would try and make a small gesture to appreciate and acknowledge the amazing work that is being done by some really fabulous teachers in the system.”

The award presentation was one of the highlight’s of the fundraiser, which also featured a silent auction, a lion dance by Horizons programme students, and a performance in the Chinese art of face changing.

Ms Ausenda explained that funds raised will benefit BEN’s work with public schools.

The organisation supports students and teachers through its adventure learning Horizons programme and professional development opportunities.

For more information, visit www.bermudaeducationnetwork.com

Big winner: Sharmaine Nusum, pictured with some of the other nominees for the Outstanding Teacher Award 2018, took home the big prize on Saturday (Photograph by Lisa Simpson)