Name: Zahra Herrmann
NZTC Qualification: Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Leadership and Management)
Why did you want to become an early childhood educator?
I have been fascinated by the art of teaching since the first day I went to school and I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything else. My interest in ECE started when my eldest son was born. I wanted to be a good parent, give my child the best opportunities and help him to achieve his full potential.
What motivated you to further your education and undertake the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Leadership and Management)?
I have been a centre manager for many years and in a number of countries, but I realised that I had no formal training in leadership and management and certainly not specifically in an educational setting. I knew that I needed specific training in this area to help me do a better job.
How did the qualification help you grow as a leader?
I became more self-aware and understood my own leadership style better, and I am now able to recognise other styles. This clarification has helped me build better relationships with my team members.
What qualifications have you undertaken with NZTC and how have you found studying with the College?
I first did a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and then upgraded to the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) with NZTC. I work full time, so the flexible hours work well for me. I find there is lots of support from NZTC for students like me who study online.
Have you had any major challenges while studying and how have you managed to overcome them?
I have been challenged by writing assignments at a postgraduate level. English is my second language and formal writing (any writing for that matter) is a bit of a challenge. I find it difficult to express my thoughts accurately in a different language, however, I was able to find programs which helped me with grammar, spelling and finding alternative words.
My other challenge was time. With full-time work, studying means making a serious commitment that takes its toll on the whole family. I worked on my time management and communicated my needs with both my employers and family.
What advice would you give others thinking about studying this specialist management and leadership postgraduate certificate?
The courses are informative and very interesting and the knowledge is useful even if you are not formally in a leadership role. I believe every teacher is a leader in their own area of strength and interest. If being a leader comes naturally to you then you can benefit from the information and self-awareness the qualification offers. Some of us are not natural born leaders and in that case the skills learnt in this qualification are absolutely necessary if you intend to teach early childhood education.