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Former nurse named ‘best’ teacher

By Chelsea Boyle

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Kirsty Hull has been teaching at Carterton School for the past 13 years, and has a new accolade to add to the books as the Paper Plus Wairarapa Teacher of the Year.

She made the switch from nursing to teaching when she was about 38 – something she was determined to do.

“I have always loved kids,” she said.

The two jobs have “a lot of parallels” – they are both about helping others, she said.

She credits her parents for helping her make the change.

As a solo mum with three little kids they were an amazing support system.

“They were absolutely fantastic, I can’t thank them enough.”

She believes her experience as a nurse and as a mum was a good foundation to her career as a teacher.

Now, she teaches classes of about 25 pupils.

Everyone is an individual and the challenge is to include every single one and to cater to all their needs, she said.

“Sometimes you have to work really hard for that.”

Growth mindset challenges are a regular feature in her classroom.

These challenges are designed to encourage problem solving, creativity and perseverance.

The children are given a small range of materials and a problem and are asked to design and make a solution.

“They will all come up with something different,” she said.

The important thing is that they don’t give up.

At the beginning of the year the children worked in teams to find their solutions.

Now they are more confident completing the challenges individually.

Ms Hull said her job is really rewarding when pupils have that “light bulb moment”.

“You know you have made a difference.”

She keeps a lot of the special thank you cards her pupils make for her in a box, but said she is going to need a new box soon.


  1. Congratulations Kirsty on your magnificent achievement; not really a surprise though; you’re an inspirational person!

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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