Name: Malinda Williams
NZTC Qualification: Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)
What inspired you to pursue a career in early childhood education?
Being in the banking industry for most of my working career, I decided I needed a change and accepted a position at Kindercare Learning Centre as the administrator. During this time, I had the opportunity to spend time in the classrooms, and the more time I spent in the classrooms, the more passionate I became about teaching in early childhood. After three years of being the administrator, I resigned from my position to become a full-time student at New Zealand Tertiary College. Once I made the decision to study, everything fell into place and before I knew it I started my first year of studies in early childhood education.
How was it studying with NZTC?
Studying through NZTC has been a very positive experience for me. I have always been someone who stays within my comfort zone. Through my studies, however, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone. This is something I will always be grateful for, as this has helped me to gain confidence in many ways. Studying online was also a way that I could study and work full-time. This gave me the opportunity to put what I am learning into practice daily.
Did you have any challenges or triumphs during your studies?
I was a little concerned at first, as I am a more mature student, and was wondering how people would perceive me as a student. I was extremely happy to discover that I was not the only mature student. I also realised it does not matter at what stage in your life you find your passion, it is important that you do find it!
What support did you receive from NZTC during your studies?
NZTC has been a wonderful source of support to me. There have been occasions where I have had to fly to South Africa on very short notice, and NZTC has always been very understanding and supportive. Life does not stop happening just because we study, and NZTC understands that.
How has the knowledge gained through the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) helped you in your work?
I feel privileged to be a part of children’s lives, and through my studies I am gaining valuable knowledge to best guide and support them. It is important as educators that we understand our tamariki and know how they learn. It is also important that we have the knowledge to support them emotionally and provide a place where they feel safe and loved.
What do you enjoy most about working in ECE?
One of the most rewarding moments for me was when a parent told me that I made a difference in their child’s life. I love all the little hugs I get and building relationships with our tamariki and their families/whānau.
What is your advice for others who are considering studying ECE?
If I could give anyone advice, it would be to make sure you have a good support network, i.e. friends, family, and colleagues. Be committed, believe in yourself and, above all, persevere. It is all worth it in the end.