Tom Clarke - Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary)
The Graduate Diploma in Teaching has given Tom the skills, knowledge and confidence he needs to pursue a meaningful career in teaching.
"I enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) as I wanted to do something that gave back to my community that was philanthropic.
"I have spent a large portion of my career working in the arts. One of the joys that I got from performing and acting was that it was a skill; It was something that I could get better and more athletic at overtime. Teaching feels extremely similar for me; something I have started to build my toolkit for, but I also know that it is something I will become stronger with experience. Developing my own pedagogy will be very personal to who I am and the idea of figuring out who I am in my classrooms is exciting to me.
"One of the best things about the programme is the teachers. Above and beyond, they know what they’re teaching, they’re practised professionals with years of experience in the classroom, and are actively researching the subject they lecture about. They put so much care and manaakitanga into their work and the students in their classes. I felt lucky to be working and learning from them. They were warm and approachable, and really cared, even with a cohort of 250 people.
By the end of my first practicum, I had led three
classes on four-week units of work. Going into next year, I feel like I am
backed by teaching theories, real actual life classroom experience, I have more
knowledge and skills about how to plan classes, create content
"The things we learnt was so fascinating. It is difficult to say which of my papers I liked the most, or who I liked the most, but what I loved was how critically every single paper examined what it was teaching. We didn’t just get answers, we were offered perspectives. And it became our job to find the things that suited us best and align with the ideas that made sense to us most. It has made me very excited to get into a classroom.
"Both of the practicum schools I was placed at took great care of me and I had a brilliant time teaching students for the first time. I went from observation, to helping students in the classroom, to teaching small exercises, and then eventually all the way to taking a full class. By the end of my first practicum, I had led three classes on four week units of work. In my second practicum, the build up to teaching was much quicker. But just as I was about the start teaching full time, Covid hit and Auckland went into our most recent lockdown. All of the learning then switched to being online; I taught English and Drama classes via zoom for five weeks, which was a difficult but actually really rewarding experience.
"Going into next year, I feel like I am backed by teaching theories, real actual life classroom experience, I have more knowledge and skills about how to plan classes, create content, I understand the structures around NCEA and the New Zealand Curriculum and how that filters down to the choices I make in my classroom. I have confidence to do the job that I absolutely didn’t have before."