Q: What is your current job and how did you find yourself in it?

Joy Pratt

Joy: I am TiC (teacher in charge) drama at Rangitikei College. I also teach English here. I did my BA at Massey University and my postgraduate degree at the University of Waikato. I was keen to start my career as soon as possible, so I moved down to Christchurch for my first teaching position. I completed my first year as a PRT at Avonside Girls’ High School. However, I wanted to move back to the Manawatu/Rangitikei, as all of my family is from this area. So I was very grateful that this job at Rangitikei College came up on the Education Gazette last year.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a teacher? What attracted you to the teaching profession?

Joy: YES! I always saw teaching as a means to create change. I really want to make a difference in the lives of my kids, and it’s really exciting to be in a position where that is a possibility. I think it’s awesome that I get to do what I love and get paid for it.

Q: In recent years many New Zealand teachers have struggled to find jobs; were you   worried about getting a job prior to starting your job search?

Joy: Yes I was. I decided that I would make life easier for myself by being willing to travel for employment.

Q: Did you or any of your peers experience any difficulty securing your first teaching job

Joy: I was unemployed until a week before the beginning of the school year (2014). It was a bit of a nerve-racking time! Some of my peers did not get employment in that first term. However, most got some kind of relief work.

Q: What has your experience been of the teacher registration process?

Joy: I had no trouble with it. The process could be a little bit quicker, just to ensure that all teachers are set up before teaching begins, but no real complaints.

Q: Did teaching meet with any expectations you formed while studying to be a teacher

Joy: My university did an awesome job at preparing us for the intensity of first-year teaching. I think that the University of Waikato was pretty awesome, actually. Most of what I learnt there was easily transferrable. There have been a few things that uni hasn’t prepared me for (like report writing, for example). However, my schools have done a great job at filling in the gaps.

Q: Can you briefly describe a typical day teaching?

Joy: I try to get into school early to set up my classroom for my first lesson. I find that the more prepared I am, the more structure my lesson will have. This usually keeps students on task. I write learning intentions up on the board and wait outside my classroom before each class to meet my students. I try to find the time to do this before each lesson. However, this can be difficult at times, as I teach English and drama and this means I have to move across the school. My non-contacts are spent either planning or marking. I try to take as little work home as possible.

Q: What is the most rewarding part about your job?

Joy: There are lots! I love the moments when you see the lights go on, and a student has just figured out what you have been trying to teach them. I like it when a student will make reference to something you talked about ages ago. I guess the best experience that I have had was when I saw my students’ e-asTTle results soar after I completed an inquiry.

Q: And the most challenging or frustrating aspects?

Joy: When I see kids with massive potential refusing to use it, despite all the time spent and attempts on my part.

Q: What are your professional development or career aspirations?

Joy: My first goal is to become fully registered. I’ve just become TiC drama and I see that as being a pretty big deal. Completing my masters is something that is on the cards for me. However, I’m taking baby steps at this point.

Q: Would you ever consider teaching abroad?

Joy: I think that it would be an awesome experience. I would most definitely consider it. Not yet though!

Q: What advice would you give new teachers about to embark on their first teaching job

Joy: Use your non-contacts wisely. Try to take home as little work as possible as it is vital to make time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 

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