Teaching teachers

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Supporting the next generation of teachers is what drives kaiako Candice Bailey (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Maniapoto). A primary school trained teacher herself, Candice joined WITT Te Pūkenga earlier this year to take on a new role overseeing ākonga who are studying teaching through Open Polytechnic Te Pūkenga.

“I flipped my passion for teaching around and thought, what could I do to help shape teachers coming into the education space?” she says of the new role. 

Candice works alongside ākonga enrolled in the Bachelor of Education (primary) and the Graduate Diploma (primary or secondary) to support them in their studies, in their relationships with their partner schools and to facilitate opportunities for the cohort of Taranaki-based ākonga to get together as a group and have kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) time and support one another.

“It really is the best of both worlds, study online from your home base with in-person support to help unpack things that you have seen, heard and are learning about,” says Candice.

It wasn’t long ago that people had to leave Taranaki and attend a university if they wanted to become a primary or secondary teacher.

“The old model was very restrictive and didn’t accommodate people who didn’t have the flexibility or desire to move cities – people with families, those who could save or make money by staying at home and those committed to staying in the region. Not only were they missing out, so was the teaching profession on having the diversity these learners bring to the classroom.”

“It is especially apparent now with the advent of the New Zealand history curriculum and the focus on local history to have teachers with local knowledge and experience teaching tamariki in our community.”

Stepping into the new role built on Candice’s experience as a Kāhui Ako where she leads a cluster of schools that work together to achieve their learners’ full potential.

A mother of four, Candice and her whānau moved from Waiora on the East Coast six years ago for career opportunities for her and her partner who works for the New Zealand Police.

She says they are beach people, but the black sand is still taking some getting used to!

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