Alyssa O'Connor

'The lecturers at Canterbury clearly enjoy what they teach...'

  • Alyssa oconnor

Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in European Languages and Cultures

Studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)

A love of language and learning, combined with a long-held ambition to become a primary teacher drew Alyssa to a Bachelor of Arts in English. It was a practical choice and one she recommends to others who want to teach.

‘While studying and learning about what I love – books, history, other cultures – I have also been able to bring myself a step closer to gaining a teaching qualification,’ she says.

Having completed her degree, Alyssa can now study for a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) and complete her teaching qualification in only fifteen more months.

‘If you’re planning to study teaching I would definitely recommend studying a BA, or other degree, first. That way you get two qualifications and acquire a greater variety of skills and knowledge. So this really was the ideal course of study for me to take – the best of both worlds!’

For Alyssa, one of the advantages of the BA was the wide range of subjects she was able to study, which allowed her to develop her existing interests and explore some new areas.

‘The great thing about the BA is that it allows you to be creative and have fun,’ she says. ‘There is so much flexibility and variety. I took courses in subjects like History and Psychology, as well as Philosophy and Creative Writing papers. I even did a course on The Simpsons. And of course the best thing about studying English was all the good books I got to read!

It was not just the course content itself that Alyssa found interesting – the overall experience at UC was another positive aspect of her undergraduate years here.

‘The lecturers at Canterbury clearly enjoy what they teach and this makes for a very stimulating learning environment. They are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and understanding. The campus is also very beautiful and comfortable. It has everything you need.’

One opportunity that arose for Alyssa as a result of her ability and enthusiasm was to be invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society.

‘It was great to get that recognition for my academic strengths and hard work,’ she says. ‘In the final year of my degree, I took part in the Golden Key Mentoring Programme, working on a project for several weeks with a high-achieving Year Five student from Ilam Primary School. This was something I thoroughly enjoyed, and I gained valuable experience and skills that will transfer well into teaching.’

Alyssa is excited to be a step closer to starting her teaching career, and being able to ‘impart knowledge and positive values, and to encourage and inspire children to develop and share my own love of learning’.

Cain Tweedie-Cunningham

Cain Tweedie-Cunningham

'Teaching younger, new entrant kids was a lot harder than I expected, but it was surprisingly fun...'

Emily Stevens

Emily Stevens

'You are always learning and you’ll never stop, even when you have the degree!'