A TEACHER at North Berwick High School has been named ‘German Teacher of the Year’ by the German Embassy in London.

Suzanne Ritchie was presented with the award in recognition of her “outstanding dedication to and tireless support of the teaching of the German language”.

Miss Ritchie, a former pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School, lived and worked abroad for several years after university.

Her work mainly consisted of translating for the football organisation FIFA in Zurich in Switzerland.

In 2006, she decided to retrain as a teacher and joined North Berwick High School the following year.

She was encouraged to enter the competition by Ann Robertson, who leads East Lothian Council’s 1+2 languages development programme.

On her win, Miss Ritchie said: “I was surprised and delighted when I found out that I had been chosen as one of the German Teacher Award recipients for 2020.

“Languages have fascinated me since I was small. My grandfather was a Franco-Polish immigrant to Scotland and he could speak four languages: Polish, French, German and English. I just thought that this was an amazing skill to have!

“My language skills have opened many doors for me and I have made great friends and wonderful memories all over the world but, of all the jobs that I have had, I found that working with young people gave me the most joy. This is why I became a teacher.

“I have been mentored by so many experienced teachers across East Lothian, some of whom have since retired, and I have learned a great deal from them all.

"I currently lead a dynamic department of committed language teachers and we aspire to foster in our pupils the same sense of wonder that we feel for language learning and to open their eyes to the world of possibilities out there for them.”

Lauren Rodger, the school's headteacher, said: “Miss Ritchie fully deserves to be recognised with this year’s German Teacher Award and I am absolutely thrilled for her.

“Her passion for the German language is clear to all. She has an innate ability to foster a love of the language in her pupils: her enthusiasm is infectious!

“Miss Ritchie is an outstanding teacher. She enjoys finding innovative approaches to engage her pupils and they love her lessons. She also promotes the value of learning languages to pupils more widely beyond NBHS, with her valuable work as lead teacher for modern languages on the Regional Improvement Collaborative.

“She is professional, committed, enthusiastic and creative in everything she does.

“Her own passion for German has led to many young people having a very positive experience of learning the language and, for many, coming to love German themselves. I believe she is a very worthy recipient of this award.”

The German Teacher Award has been running for 16 years and recognises champions of the German language. It is described by Education Scotland as a “very high accolade”.

Dr Susanne Frane, deputy head of culture and education at the German Embassy in London, congratulated Miss Ritchie on her “impressive commitment inside and outside [her] classroom every day”.