'I have a passion for learning as much as I can to benefit the tamariki of Aotearoa...'
Primary teacher, Coromandel Area School
Jamie’s current role teaching Year 4 kids at Coromandel Area School has been a dream come true soon after completing her bachelor’s degree.
‘I wanted to become a teacher because I feel like I have a lot to give,’ she says. ‘Growing up I had really great teachers and a really great upbringing, however some children are not as lucky, and I want to be that positive influence in children’s lives on a day to day basis. This inspires me to teach!’
She studied her undergraduate degree in Primary Teaching through the Flexible Learning Option (FLO), to experience studying at UC while still living at home in the North Island.
‘I wanted an adventure. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and I just wanted something different, UC gave me that! As a distance student I had to be very organised, independent, and self-motivated. These are skills that I use every day in my job.’
The support she received during study cemented her decision about UC. She particularly commends her lecturers and the Academic Skills Centre for their help.
‘The distance support is beyond exceptional. I received so much support as a distance student from afterhours emails and phone calls to having books sent to me in the post. I feel like I am part of the UC whanau!’
Another big influence was the Māori Development Team, who were good motivators in tying in her cultural heritage with her teaching studies.
‘I met MDT at an open night in my first year while I was on campus for the week and their sense of manaakitanga was truly amazing! I felt very blessed to be part of such a caring and helpful community of people! Mauri ora,’ she says.
Her Primary Teaching degree, meanwhile, also lived up to her expectations with preparation for real teaching work.
‘This course gives you a good mix of practical and theoretical knowledge to gain enough confidence to teach in the classroom. The content is relevant and real because what the lecturers are trying to teach you is how you can teach it to children in the classroom.’
One really exciting part of her undergrad studies was completing a project at the Sonoda Women’s University in Amagasaki, Japan, through one of her courses.
‘A fantastic opportunity and such a rewarding experience,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t be more thankful to UC for providing a trip like this that opened my eyes up to a rich culture and that really pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways. This trip really helped me find myself and grow as an individual.’
Looking to start postgraduate studies in Education, Jamie looks forward to extending her teaching skills and implementing more tikanga Māori in her classes for the next generation.
‘UC has really changed my life, I have meet the most amazing people that are now friends for life. UC has taught me to think differently and it has inspired my love and passion for teaching and learning,’ she says.
‘UC has also inspired my love for te reo Māori, I admire the rich culture UC has and hope to embrace this in my classroom. UC really helps you to discover who you are, and because of this I have developed a sense of tūrangawaewae and pride about who I am and what I do.
‘I have a passion for learning as much as I can to further develop my teaching, to benefit the tamariki of Aotearoa. My goals are to keep learning and to keep inspiring children every day!’
Jamie strongly recommends her bachelor’s degree to future teachers, in the hope that they too will find her career path as rewarding and meaningful.
‘Come with an open mind, take everything on board, and take your time to really explore the beauty of teaching, it is a wonderful career. Take it all in and make the most out of every opportunity that is provided, go for it!’