Accounting kaiako Dr Waala Ghazy has gone from lecturing to an audience of 700 students at a time in her home country of Egypt to knowing all her students by name in her accounting classes at WITT Te Pūkenga.
With average class sizes of 25 she is able to connect with each student and says: “The opportunity to engage one-to-one is more rewarding than lecturing to an audience in the hundreds.”
After 20 years of teaching, Waala also enjoys the applied focus that polytechnic programmes have when comparing university lecturing to her current role.
“We look at the wider skills a student needs to complement the theoretical skills they are learning to best prepare each person to enter the workforce,” she says.
With experience as an international student, Waala’s journey from student to paid employment is very relatable and she’s often seen as a role model by international students. She says she gets them to focus on what they have to offer, instead of fixating on what they don’t have.
“International students are always look at their language skills as an issue and that can stop them from reaching their goals. Many lack self-confidence comparing themselves to native English speakers.”
She tells them they can’t claim English as their first language and it is ok to have issues with grammar and vocab, but it is something you can work on and improve and not to use language issues as a barrier.
The Bachelor of Accounting is one of the first unified programmes offered at Te Pūkenga and has given Waala an opportunity to participate in the design of the new degree, as well as enjoy the camaraderie of working with other accounting tutors.
“Coming from a large university I am used to having lots of teaching colleagues all doing similar things.”
She says it is great to now be teaching and delivering the programme she helped create.
“Last year I taught courses developed by others and with the new degree I have the opportunity to update my teaching material to both support the new curriculum and suit my style,” she says.
Waala and her husband and two teenage children moved to New Zealand in 2018 for Waala to complete her PhD in Accounting at AUT in Auckland. She says New Zealand is more beautiful than she imagined - she had assumed the countryside was going to be like a mini England.
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