Matt Vannoort

'I get to shape the lives of young people and help them discover how amazing chemistry is...'

  • Matt Vannoort

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)

Teacher, Middleton Grange School

As a chemistry teacher, Matt has been able to fulfil his passions for education and science in his career.

‘I love interacting with people – especially young people – and love telling them about the fascinating field of Chemistry,’ he says.

Having developed a keen interest in Chemistry during high school, Matt decided to continue his studies into university at UC, with a Bachelor of Science.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Matt found that he had also developed a passion for ‘educating young minds, passing on a passion for chemistry’, which lead him onto Secondary Teaching Studies with UC to become qualified as a New Zealand high school teacher.

‘It is a fantastic subject area. I enjoy all things Chemistry — particularly organic chemistry. It appeals to a logical mind, and you can have a lot of fun! My studies taught me the content I needed to master, and also new ways to teach it to others.’

UC provided the courses he needed and was interested in most, with the bonus of being his local university. Matt was able to take advantage of the Canterbury region for his science studies. 

‘I did a Marine Biology field trip to Kaikōura with UC during undergrad,’ he says. ‘It was a fantastic trip, and I learned a lot about how science is carried out in the field.’

Along with the ‘knowledgeable teaching staff, great social events, and good facilities’ UC offered, Matt was also a part of the Ultimate Frisbee team, and played in the Uni Games during study. He still plays ultimate Frisbee in his spare time outside of work, along with tennis and rugby, and plays an active role with his church, friends, and family. 

After completing his chemistry teaching studies, Matt went onto becoming a registered teacher and started his career at Middleton Grange School. Interacting with different classes and exploring different kinds of chemistry each day keeps his work varied and fulfilling.

‘I get to shape the lives of young people and help them discover how amazing chemistry is. We also get to do exciting experiments (which often involve explosions!). I think humour is essential in the classroom, as well as being flexible. Sometimes my lesson goes in a totally different direction than what I had planned!’

Matt hopes to continue building his chemistry teaching career, and help his students share his enthusiasm for chemistry and the sciences.

‘I am constantly having to adapt to the modern learner. Thinking of new, creative ways to engage students and help them understand difficult concepts. You have to be able to relate to people and be passionate about your subject. You have to be a team player,’ he says.

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