Michael Wong with children from his centre
Name: Michael Wong
Qualification: Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE)
What inspired you to pursue a career in early childhood education?
My whole career path has been hugely associated with teaching. After spending two happy years of secondary teaching in my hometown of Macau, China, I realised that my real passion is to work with small children. I love spending time with the younger ones, who constantly give me strength and inspiration. Most importantly, studying early childhood education at NZTC allows me to reflect on the real meaning of teaching, which is not merely about imparting knowledge.
How has your NZTC study experience been so far?
Studying with NZTC gives me lots of innovative and thought-provoking ideas towards working with children. The courses are organised in a way that assists any new teacher to understand how to teach children through play, guided by lots of interesting questions throughout the course. Even though I was a little bit overwhelmed at first, the lecturing team has offered instant help to address any questions I have. I enjoy studying with NZTC.
Did you have any challenges or triumphs during your studies?
The most challenging thing that I encountered during my studies was my first Field Practice. I had to complete a few hours of Field Practice each day while, at the same time, I also had to complete the course assessments. To my surprise, I received good results in both my coursework and my Field Practice. All the hard work has paid off.
What does your current role involve?
I am lucky enough to work as an on-call reliever in the pre-schooler room at my Home Centre. Like most other kindy teachers, I have to create some interesting activities that attract children to learn through play. To ensure those activities are educational and meaningful, I read lots of books to enrich my understanding of the subject area. Before creating activities, I have to observe children carefully to discover what their learning disposition and interests are like. I always communicate with their parents to confirm what I observed from the children. But most importantly, I have to ensure children learn in a safe environment.
How has the knowledge gained through the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) helped you in your work?
The first course that I did was related to health and safety in the ECE sector. Some of the course readings, which carefully depicted the importance of the health and safety of children, gave me plenty of innovative ideas of how to provide a safe and healthy environment for them. As the children spend most of their waking hours in the centre, teachers serve as the gatekeepers to guarantee their health and safety. Therefore, I always keep an eye on children’s surroundings to eliminate any possible danger. Children will learn best in an environment where it is safe.
What is your advice for others who are considering studying early childhood education?
You will never know how much you will gain throughout the journey of studying with NZTC – not only academically, but also practically. The lecturers and staff are all willing to help if you ask. Most importantly, studying with NZTC is flexible enough to fit your own schedule. You do not have to worry that studies will overwhelmingly occupy your life. You can have an equilibrium of study, work and life with the help of NZTC.