Melissa Waite

'All of us wanted the same thing out of the course, so we helped to motivate each other...'

  • Melissa waite

Bachelor of Education (Physical Education) and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)

Junior PE and Health Teacher, Wainuiomata High School, Wellington

Melissa wanted a profession where she could combine working with children and young adults with her interest in sports. She decided a career as a physical education teacher would be the perfect vocation. The next step was to find a place to study that best suited her needs.

Living in Queenstown, Melissa assessed her South Island options. Weighing up the strengths of each provider she decided that the UC College of Education was the perfect place for her. 'The course at the College of Education sounded a lot better for me than Dunedin. The programme is more focused on teaching,' she says.

Melissa found the student lifestyle just as enjoyable as her studies. 'Christchurch is an awesome place to be, and what is available for students there is pretty cool, with the UCSA, the Recreation Centre, and things like that… The lecturers made class actually fun, and the other students were great – all of us wanted the same thing out of the course, so we helped to motivate each other.'

For some, the challenge of university study can be daunting. Melissa's advice is to find a programme that is interesting and 'get in there and get involved'. For her, passion and enjoyment make the challenge fun and rewarding. 'It's not easy – it’s definitely not for someone who isn't sure about what they want to do. It's full-on but also the most fun you can have whilst studying. The atmosphere of the course was great and everyone was out there to help you.'

After completing her degree, Melissa returned to Queenstown and took up a role at Wakatipu High School teaching PE and Health and mentoring students through NCEA Level 2 for a year.

Strengthened from the experience, Melissa now lives in Wellington, working as a PE and Health Teacher at Wainuiomata High School.

‘This was a massive change from Wakatipu High School, which is a decile 10 to Wainui which is decile 3 - but I’m loving every second of it,’ she says. ‘The degree definitely set me up well to deal with issues that arise from the students and how important relationships with the students are. I teach junior PE and Health and run the senior Health course. I'm excited for the year ahead and to develop my teaching more.’

Melissa looks forward to the opportunities her career continuously offers.

‘I'm enjoying the challenge of being pushed to be more engaging, creative and inspiring as a teacher by these students. We learn about lifelong learning during our time studying and teaching is most definitely a job where you continue to learn, develop and be inspired every day.’

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