More options. Greater security.

Getting to know Clayton
Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching and Learning

Clayton Hiku profile picture 1000 by 750

What inspired you to jump into a teaching diploma?

It's something I had planned to do ever since I graduated from jazz school. I already had experience working as an itinerant music teacher, but this diploma will give me more career options and greater financial security.

What are you enjoying most about your studies?

I’m loving the focus on cultural competency. I’m Māori myself and it's amazing to be part of a unanimously positive Māori experience in a predominantly Pākehā environment. It's been really healing for me, and helped me reconnect with and embrace my own cultural identity.

How are you supported to succeed at UC?

Our classes are more like workshops than lectures. Our teachers model the strategies we need to use in the classroom, they don’t just present theories on a page. It’s a really interactive and effective way to learn.

Are you getting some good real-world experience too?

In our program we do two 7-week placements in schools. That gives us lots of time in the classroom to practice the things we learn. With teaching, you’ve got to see theory in context. That’s when it all comes together.

How is studying different being a bit older?

As a parent of two young kids I’ve learned just how precious time is and I have become much more productive with the time I have. It’s amazing how much you can get done in an hour! I’m a much better student now than when I was younger, and I’m stoked to say that with my diploma I’ve had nothing but A+’s.

Favourite highlights of the campus experience?

It's great having a gym membership again. I get to exercise on my lunch break! The Rehua building is a really nice, new facility with bright, modern learning spaces. I love the library too. It’s a great place to get my assignments done away from the distractions at home.

What have you learned about yourself along this journey?

I've become more appreciative of what I’m learning, as opposed to just looking for that qualification. I am genuinely hungry for new knowledge.

Best piece of advice for others coming back to study?

A lot of people think they can’t do it because they don’t have enough time. My advice is to trust that you can. With an adult work ethic, you can achieve so much more in far less time.