Waimiere Taoho says she’s loving being a kaiako after taking a leap of faith to pursue her dream.
The 29-year-old, of Ngāi Tūhoe descent, finished her three-year Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree at TWoA’s Waiwhero campus in Rotorua last year.
She’s now team teaching a new entrant class at Pukeroa Oruawhata – Rotorua Primary School. It’s the culmination of a long-held desire to shift into teaching.
“Being a mum of two I wasn't sure if I could afford to give up full-time employment to go and study. So I always just put it on the back burner and focused on my mahi at the time,” says Waimiere.
But when her dad passed away in 2017 she decided to finally take the leap, as life was too short to be stuck in the wrong job, “and it was the best choice I've made”.
Waimiere’s new role can be stressful sometimes “but I love it because every day is different and I work with an awesome group of staff and children”.
Her focus now is working towards becoming a fully registered teacher and continuing to learn and grow in the profession.
“I hope to one day take on more responsibilities, maybe a leadership or management role, but I have a long way to go until then.”
Waimiere says studying at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was “awesome”.
“I don't know if I would have made it to the end if I had chosen to study anywhere else.”
She says she’s made lifelong friends at TWoA and the kaiako were very supportive and understanding.
“They were always approachable and willing to help if you were stuck or didn't understand certain requirements.
“The most valued lesson I have taken away from my kaiako at TWoA is that good teachers constantly reflect and inquire into their own practice, always looking for new ways to improve and support their learners.”
To others thinking about pursuing study to get ahead she says: “If you are truly passionate about something, take the leap regardless of your situation. I'm not saying that it was easy, and you might go through some struggles for a little bit, but it's definitely worth it in the end.”