Esther reflects that becoming a Teach First NZ participant has been as much about learning as it has been about teaching. She recognises that one of the most important aspects to becoming an effective teacher and leader is being willing to unpeel your own layers to critique yourself, and being open to difference.
Teach First NZ’s commitment to schools that serve lower decile communities, and the organisation’s alignment with her own beliefs on educational inequality, are what firstly attracted Esther to the Teach First NZ programme. Esther Rakete was raised in Mangere, Auckland, and brings to Teach First NZ a passion for assisting all students to recognise their educational potential, and for instilling the notion that anything is possible. Particularly inspired by one of her own Maori lessons as a student at Mangere College, which she recalls as a turning point in her own education, Esther pursued university study at Auckland University of Technology where she graduated with a Bachelor in Maori Economic Development.
Esther’s previous roles as a kaiako at Wharepunga Te Kohanga Reo – in which she was involved in establishing an eleven-week ‘Pursuit of Excellence’ course for Maori students – as well as leadership experience as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kaikohe, cemented the teaching profession as something she wanted to pursue further. It was these experiences, as well as a personal desire to ensure that all students realise that their ability to learn and succeed is not fixed or limited by their individual circumstances, that encouraged Esther to apply and accept a place on the Teach First NZ programme. Esther, now a Teach First NZ participant teaching Te Reo Maori at Okaihau College, is motivated to encourage her own students to reach their full educational potential, and reinforce that success is not universally defined – it can be whatever you want it to be, and whatever you make it.
Esther is a graduate from Auckland University of Technology and has a Bachelor of Maori Development under her belt. She is currently teaching Te Reo in Okaihau College in Northland.