Teach First NZ participants have this week started teaching in their various schools; the inaugural 2013 cohort has returned for their second year of the Teach First programme and the 2014 cohort is experiencing their first taste of life in schools.
After eight weeks of the Summer Initial Intensive training programme, 2014 cohort participants have dispersed across their various schools in Auckland and Northland, and are in the process of getting to know their fellow staff, mentors and students.
These are some of their thoughts so far:
“The biggest challenge so far has been adapting to the new pace and structure of life. There are such regular deadlines, and many people to be held accountable to professionally. But I also want to meet the deadlines because it means providing the best for my students.”
– Jonathan Wieland, 2014 Cohort, Teaching Mathematics at One Tree Hill College
“The start of my teaching career has been the most challenging few weeks of my life! The biggest challenge has been the responsibility of having my own classroom. I’ve gone from the theory of teaching to the reality of having my own learners who are real people! I am responsible for setting the tone of the learning environment and building trust during these early days. I have had to balance getting to know my learners, the staff, the curriculum, all the while still learning how to teach, as well as being initiated into the school. Everything is happening all at once! But it's been really good to meet my learners, to establish connections and begin the journey with them."
– Jason Sharma, 2014 Cohort, Teaching Mathematics at Tamaki College
Meanwhile, Teach First NZ’s inaugural 2013 cohort has returned to their schools with a year of teaching experience under their belt. One of their participants, Leonie Wethey, currently in her second year of teaching English at Tamaki College, describes the difference her experience has made:
“I feel excited to be back at school after a year of experience. Not only do I feel at home amongst a staff and student body who have been endlessly welcoming and supportive, but the experiences, lessons learned (often the hard way!) and knowledge I have acquired makes me feel well equipped for the year ahead. I’ve grown so much as a teacher since the beginning of my learning journey, going from feeling like a complete novice, to a credible teacher who understands the learning needs of students and knows how to cater to them. Obviously there is still a lot I need to learn, and things that I plan to change as a result of what I learned last year. I’ve learned that teaching is a profession of relationships and that building strong relationships with students is crucial to their learning. I also now understand the importance of setting high expectations for both behaviour and achievement early on, and never straying from these, which is something I plan to implement this year.”
- Leonie Wethey, 2013 cohort, Teaching English at Tamaki College
Teach First NZ looks forward to reporting more of their participants’ stories and experiences throughout the year.