My name is Sarah McKenzie and I’ve been working in early childhood education (ECE) for the past ten years. During the last four, I’ve held the role of manager for one and professional leader for two of the ECE centres under the Lots of Hugs Childcare organisation in Palmerston North. Soon after I began working in ECE I decided to begin studying towards a Diploma in Teaching (ECE). Since then I have upgraded my qualification to a Bachelor in Teaching (ECE) and now the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (ECE) at New Zealand Tertiary College.
The postgraduate program has allowed me to consider the way I teach and lead through a lens that I had not looked through before. I’ve had the opportunity to unpack the concept of education and how goals and philosophies can influence the way that a student learns. This has been especially valuable for my role as a leader. I’m now able to look at the big picture of education and how long term visions and goals can influence individual children and the way they learn as much as it influences the teachers and how they practice. The Postgraduate Diploma has given me the tools that I need to further my knowledge and qualifications in ECE in the future.
One of my assessments was to discuss the diverse styles of leadership and argue the strengths and weaknesses of these styles. I could relate very clearly to this assignment as leading is what I do on a daily basis in my work. Leadership can be carried out in many diverse ways but as I have found only certain styles of leadership allow teachers to be the best they can be and this concept was the basis for my discussion. I didn’t however expect to receive an email asking if I would like to submit it to He Kupu [the College’s early childhood education eJournal]. This was a great honour and I was very excited to see my article published.
I’m planning to continue my studies and complete the NZTC Master of Education (ECE). I enjoy working alongside of teachers and supporting them in their practice so I would like to take on a professional development or lecturing role at some stage as well as engage in some research. For now though I’m extremely happy working alongside of my inspiring team of teachers and children at Lots of Hugs Childcare centre.
NZTC has great lecturers that are willing to support their students with their goals. The flexibility of online learning allowed me to work full time as well as study which is something that I would not have been able to do at all tertiary institutes. I was able to learn alongside of wonderful people that I have formed lasting connections with. ECE is such a rewarding career and the relationships that you make as a teacher can last long past when the child goes to school. I enjoy watching the discoveries that children can make and now spend my time helping other teachers to support children in making these same discoveries.
- Sarah McKenzie
2013 Postgraduate Diploma in Education (ECE) graduate
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