“I believe one of the biggest challenges facing teacher education in New Zealand is whether initial teacher education (ITE) is able to attract the high-calibre students that we undoubtedly want within the profession. With the industrial action currently occurring and teacher workload and pay being a prominent topic of discussion, I do wonder whether people who would make fantastic teachers are being put off by the current state of teaching in New Zealand. This is in no way to suggest that my fellow students are not incredible – I simply wonder how many other people who also would have been incredible have been put off from entering the profession.
“A further challenge that is evident is ensuring that those of us in ITE are able to maintain our own wellbeing. I believe we must start off as we intend to carry on. Yes, teachers have a large workload. Entering the profession now, we are all aware of this. However, we also have a large workload. As the amount of work that teachers are expected to do increases and the diverse needs of the students become greater, the amount that we have to learn over the duration of our course also increases, increasing stress. I believe that ITE providers should be providing us with support and strategies to maintain our wellbeing now, with an end goal of helping teacher retention. For myself and the others in my cohort, this has been a large focus with mindfulness being implemented throughout our course – I would simply hope that other providers are doing the same.”