RETHINKING
EDUCATION

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AXEL. TEACHING.
NGĀTI MUTUNGA.

What made you want to teach new entrants?

I love the way little kids say the most random things. They go off topic in such funny ways! I just finished a five week new entrant placement where I had to lead the learning. It was scary at first but once I got the routine down it was great. The teachers and kids were amazing.

What do you enjoy most about studying at UC?

You're surrounded by so many like-minded people. My friends and I can talk about assignments and teaching pedagogies. It's really hands-on too. We do the activities that we plan for our kids, from maths to drama to playing the recorder. It helps you imagine how they might feel doing these things.

Have you had any community engagement with your degree?

In second year we all had to do a community placement. Mine was with Pacifica Power Plus, teaching kids from all around Christchurch. I enjoyed it so much I asked to stay on and I've been doing it ever since!

What do you enjoy most about it?

I love seeing the children develop their own identities. That's the best part for me. It also makes a huge difference to my teaching. You meet kids' families and get a better understanding of their lives.

"I love seeing the children develop their own identities. That's the best part for me."

Any thoughts for people considering teaching?

A lot of people don't realise how appreciated you are as a teacher. The children love you. On my last day of placement all my students brought me cards to say how much they would miss me. As teachers we play such a huge role in young people's lives.

Any bicultural eye-openers at UC?

In high school we studied the Treaty of Waitangi from the Pākehā side, but at UC we studied it from the Māori side. That really changed my perspective. I've learned the concepts of ako, manaakitanga, wānanga. They're not just words, they underpin my practice. I didn't know what they meant before and now they form the basis of my teaching.

Do you see yourself as a future role model?

I hope so! I think it's especially important for young boys to have male role models. It gives them a chance to relate in a different way.