Q + A series: Celebrating 35 years of NZTC
We spoke with the college’s founder, Glennie Oborn, who shared the inspiration behind the college’s inception and the many moments throughout NZTC’s history that she is proud of.
What inspired you to start a college focused on early childhood teacher education?
I was committed to providing training that was relevant, meaningful, and gave those who chose to work in the early childhood field the knowledge and skills to be effective early childhood teachers; teachers who had a heart for children and were inspired to build close connections with the children whose lives they touched.
Thirty-five years ago there was no course enabling those working with infants and toddlers to see beyond basic care needs, and very little that even scratched the surface for those caring for preschool children beyond brief sessional hours.
The needs of young children in long day care and the opportunity to enhance their early years by developing their full potential could only be met by going deeper into what it takes to make that happen. It was also important to me that the teachers, who were called childcare workers back then, be given respect and recognition. Developing the Early Childhood Teachers Course was a big step forward in this regard.
What were some of your greatest challenges and triumphs?
Every first represents a great challenge and triumph because breaking new ground in the education field often means overcoming resistance to something new or different – battles fought and won. Government consent after multiple refusals to be the first non-government provider of a Diploma of Teaching was a stake in the ground that laid a foundation for the development of future courses.
For me, some of the greatest triumphs include the many firsts that NZTC has achieved over the years. The college was the first to provide a full-time course for early childhood teachers, the first private training institution approved by the newly set up New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), and the first to deliver an online teaching degree.
NZTC was also the first non-government institution to gain course approval for New Zealand teacher registration, the first to deliver a master’s program in early childhood education, and provided the first program approved by the Early Childhood Teachers Accreditation Board.
What are the biggest changes that you have seen at NZTC over the last 35 years?
NZTC has grown beyond providing only the essentials and now extends to putting the icing on the cake. From 12 pre-service campus-based students focussed on the need to equip people to teach, NZTC now also provides multiple academic programs that enable teachers to build on their teaching degree, engage in research and follow a specialty through postgraduate and masters’ programs to some 1,500 students. And we have recently stepped into the field of providing training for those who care for our vulnerable adults through the introduction of training in Health and Wellbeing.
Is there one particular NZTC moment or initiative that you are most proud of?
There have been so many outstanding initiatives, it’s hard to say. Operationally, the development of online learning has opened up a world of possibilities for NZTC and for our students, including the possibility to engage in some study programs from anywhere in the world. Socially, the establishment of a school with over 400 first-time students and the ongoing resourcing and development of associated community development programs in India’s impoverished north, which has developed from our teacher education program in India, brings an additional dimension to our work.
What do you foresee the next 35 years for NZTC looking like?
Our future will continue to be about what our NZTC staff and students – past and present – bring to their communities across New Zealand and the globe. They are our heart, hands and feet. I see NZTC continuing to make a quantum difference in the lives it influences in multidimensional ways through our core values of Vision, Heart, Competence and Spirit.