Cain Tweedie-Cunningham

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

  • Cain Tweedie-Cunningham

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary)

It was a spell of work experience at a primary school in his home town of Timaru that convinced Cain the teaching would be his vocation.

'I really enjoyed it,' he says, 'and I decided then that I wanted to become a successful principal at a primary school.'

'I chose primary because I feel like I can have a bigger impact on what children are learning at such a young age. I think primary is where the kids need the most support as it is their platform for later learning. If I can teach them to do basic tasks well, it will have a positive impact later in life.'

Cain believes there is great potential for men to have a rewarding, professional career in teaching, and encourages others to give it a go.

'Students respond well to male teachers and more of us could have a big impact on their learning. Plus the job security for a male primary school teacher is great, and there is a lot of room to move forward into a leadership role.'

Visiting UC on one of its open days, Cain had a good look around UC's campus and its accommodation options. 'Aside from the reputation of the College of Education, I thought the opportunity to spend my first year in a hall of residence - in my case Rochester and Rutherford - would be great. The environment here, with all the clubs and the great social life, was another factor for choosing Canterbury.'

Cain is a keen rugby player, playing for Marist Albion in Christchurch in his spare time. He also likes socialising, and is a fan of the Foundry bar run by the UCSA (students' union).

'The social life is definitely one of the things I'm enjoying about studying at Canterbury,' he says. I also really like the friendly nature of the staff here, and meeting so many new people all the time.

'The Teaching degree is the same - I like being constantly around people and interacting with so many different age groups and people from different backgrounds.'

Highlights of his degree so far include the practical teaching placements that form a large part of the UC programme, and reaffirm why he has chosen to teach.

'I learned to deal with a wide variety of kids, which I really enjoyed. I also learned that teaching the younger, new entrant kids was a lot harder than I expected, but it was surprisingly fun and really cool to see them understand something I was teaching them.'

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