Meet Tracie!

Meet Tracie!

Mar 06, 2020 - Voices

Kairapu storyteller and te reo kaiako Tracie Pile joined the Ako Mātātupu movement as a part of the 2015 Cohort, teaching Te Reo Māori at James Cook High School for four years. She is now teaching English at her son's Kura in Otaki.

Kia ora, Tracie! Can we take a trip down memory lane? How did your journey with Ako Mātātupu begin?

At the time I found out about it I was 42 - it was a big career change for me. I’d been doing office work all of my life; but once my son turned five I realised that I wanted to be learning and growing along with him, and making a contribution to my community. I knew I couldn’t take time out to study - I needed to work full time to pay bills and the mortgage - and this route was amazing - supporting me to study, work, and get qualified at the same time.

Why did you apply?

When I read the information on the Teach First NZ website, I got goosebumps. Everything about the mission statement spoke to my values, and I thought “this is the place for me.”

What was your experience of the programme?

It changed my life really. It changed everything. I’m now in a career that’s meaningful to me; it enabled me to give back to the community that raised me; and the connections that I have made with my kids are forever. They will be a part of me, and a part of my life forever. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not to say that it’s been easy; but I would not change one moment of it.

“It’s not for everyone.” What do you mean by that?

It’s really intense! You’re teaching sole-charge, 0.6FTTE and studying at the same time. You go through the Summer Intensive and then, bang, you’re in front of four classes of approx. 80 kids a day. I’d left my job in admin in September and by January, I was leading young people. The pressure is on: you need to teach, to manage behaviour, to know your curriculum, to scaffold and differentiate the content for their learning. The first year was make or break, and you have to give it everything, because the stakes are high - it is our kids’ education that you’re helping to shape and grow.

I feel that you have to be of the disposition that you know you’re there to serve. You need to serve your community, your kids, your school. You’re not there to ‘save the kids’ - and the kids will teach you that very, very quickly. There are many challenges to teaching, but the personal growth and genuine relationships you create with your kids is priceless. I love what I do.

Takaia ki te reo: Wrapped in the language

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