Samaah Hussain - Online Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary)

After completing her undergraduate degree in English and New Media Studies, Samaah Hussain was excited to get into teaching in the classroom straight away.

Samaah Hussain knew very early on that she wanted to become a teacher and when she realized she could jump straight into hands-on learning in schools while studying, she didn’t hesitate to apply.

“I’ve always believed that the greatest gift you can pass on to someone is knowledge. I knew that I wanted to become a teacher very early on when I was given leadership roles in school, such as head girl and debating captain.

"However, it wasn’t until I took up roles such as tutoring as part of Mates at the University Of Auckland, I knew that this was a field where I could see myself being a part of in the long term. The intrinsic value that teaching brings me is immense. It is so rewarding to see students grow in their thinking, and become strong assets to society.”

Samaah is one of 11 students undertaking the Teacher Education in Schools Programme, a partnership between the Faculty of Education and Social Work and seven secondary schools in south and east Auckland.

The programme offers students the chance to study for the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) while experiencing the benefits of immersed learning in a school community.

Students learn alongside experienced teachers, participating in school activities and take part in all areas of school life. Students are given regular allotted time to access the online teaching programme run by the faculty in the same way as other online students.

Samaah, who is placed at Aorere College, says the appeal of the programme was the ability to jump straight into hands-on experience in a school.

“[Beginning in a school straight away] helped me to understand the culture of the school and grow in my professional development.

“In addition, I was met with diverse students and staff. This helped me build a strong connection with them, where I was learning more from them than they were from me. By the time I went on observation, I was already comfortable in my respective school, so there was no anxiety around experiencing the first day at a new place.”

“The first day was amazing. Carol, the deputy principal made me feel very welcome. She introduced me to the staff and it wasn’t long until I noticed that this welcoming and friendly nature is demonstrated by all the staff and students.

"I feel comfortable and confident around the students now. Bringing their love for learning to life is what inspires me to keep pushing myself to do better. These students are very intelligent and it wasn’t long before I realized they just need guidance to produce work to the best of their ability.

“Making strong bonds with students has been one of my highlights so far. You learn so much about how to be a better teacher when you pay attention to your students’ needs and interests. Teaching has moved away from the traditional stereotype it holds and PCTs are doing their best to make learning exciting and interactive by connecting with their students.”

Samaah says her biggest accomplishment so far is learning new ways to keep her junior students engaged, particularly the year 10s.

“It's been so exciting to see them get excited for certain activities, and enjoy coming to class,” she says.

“I am proud of the fact that my students react positively to me, through engaging and answering questions in class.”

While Samaah is keeping busy in the classroom, she’s staying focused on her goals.

“By the end of the year, I aim to have gained my diploma in secondary teaching. More importantly, I hope to have become a teacher who has gained a strong cultural awareness, and adapted a teaching style that accommodates my students.”