In each edition of Link News we SPOtlight one of our SPO Schools Advisers
Kia ora, Bula Vinaka, Nei Ho and Warm Greetings to everyone!
My name is Teri Fong and I’m the Senior Schools Adviser at the Schools Partnership Office.
I was 16 when I realised my passion for intersectional feminism while interning with the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement. Having grown up in Fiji as a young Asian woman, it was a field that excited/ inspired/fascinated/angered and moved me. I decided to leave home in Fiji to pursue a quality tertiary education. By the time I was 17, I knew that I wanted that to be at the University of Auckland.
At the time I hadn’t even set foot in New Zealand, let alone the university. For me what was extremely important was ranking. A high ranking meant that my degree was going to be internationally recognised; that I would have access to state-of-the-art facilities and quality teaching; and that I’d gain the opportunity to establish important career connections. I was also excited about the prospect of living in a big city!
In 2018, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, International Relations and Gender Studies. The truth is I love that I graduated with a BA, which has prepared me to contribute to our contemporary global world. The subjects I’ve taken span multiple disciplines. This has helped me to develop an understanding of the complex socio-cultural constructions of gender, race, and class – and the ways in which these play a role in democracy, human rights and peace building.
I was then appointed as a Schools Adviser here at SPO – and stepped into the senior role in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020. I’m so proud to work for an institution that strongly emphasises inclusive, equitable education and gender equality, not to mention the University’s encouragement of innovation.
I love my role so much! Not only do I support my colleagues as a senior adviser, but I also look after a number of schools in Auckland and all the schools in the Waikato and Coromandel regions. It’s such a privilege to engage with teachers and careers advisers and to build meaningful connections with young people. I aim to break barriers and misconceptions about University. I want to encourage students to think about what interests them, what drives them. The question is not where is this degree going to take them, but where will they take their degree. How can young people contribute positively to their communities? How can they become active citizens with a voice in the decisions that affect them?
One thing I pick up from students is the importance of meaningful connections with their teachers. Without that connection, learning lacks meaning. And without meaning, students often struggle to find the motivation and the energy needed for the hard work of learning. I’ve seen how students blossom when teachers celebrate their success. It’s so motivating to know that a teacher really cares about them.
Discover the whole team in the Schools Partnership Office.