Lauren Jessup, 2014 Cohort (Physics)

Voices - 6 May 2014

Lauren Jessup graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics. She is now teaching Physics at Tikipunga High School in Whangarei.

Nearing the end of my university studies was a stressful time, made more so by having to decide ‘What next?’. Teach First NZ was a great decision for me because it offered the opportunity to continue to work in science while developing my skills in a completely different context, and working in some small part toward a better New Zealand through addressing educational inequalities.

The Summer Initial Intensive was great. It was an exhausting roller-coaster ride from start to finish, but it gave me a good grounding of knowledge and skills to build on as I went into the new school year. It was amazing to live, work, and learn with so many talented and enthusiastic fellow participants from a variety of backgrounds, as we prepared together to face our new students at each of our respective schools. A highlight was the week-long summer school practicum, where enthusiastic students from Tangaroa College and Auckland Grammar’s In-Zone Project turned up to get a head-start for the school year ahead, and let us try our hand at some of the new things we had learnt.

Working at a school is such an intense experience. Every day brings new and varied challenges, none of which could be anticipated. Measuring my success each day by how well my students are doing has taken a massive shift in thinking, and I’m learning more than I could have imagined.

Being a Teach First NZ participant isn’t easy— it takes a lot of resilience and determination, but I’m excited to see what the next two years hold for me and my students.