Tereapii receives her qualification
Name: Tereapii Aniterea
NZTC qualification: Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)
Why did you want to become an early childhood educator?
I wanted a career where I could work and be with my children. I found it very hard to leave my children in the care of other people and go off to full-time work. This didn’t seem right to me but I knew that I needed to work to support us, so I looked into gaining a career in early childhood education.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I work full-time in a centre near Auckland airport called Bright Sparks Childcare Centre. I am currently the program coordinator for our two and three-year-old children. I support my Head Teacher with documentation and general responsibilities and on top of all that, I am the IT Administrator for our online portfolios.
How has your Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) helped you in your current role?
The knowledge I have gained in leadership has helped me a lot since graduating. It has enabled me to take on new responsibilities and have a thorough understanding of what is expected of me. Gaining knowledge about the overall development of children has given me an understanding of how to support their learning and how to communicate that with their whānau.
How did you find studying at NZTC? Were there any triumphs or challenges?
I found it very challenging at first because I was coming into it from a completely different field of work. The tools and concepts that were introduced, for example the early childhood education curriculum Te Whāriki, was really hard for me to comprehend at first but as time progressed I started to understand these concepts better. I recognised that my time management had to be strict in order for me to succeed.
You attended the support tutorials for Māori and Pasifika students, kōrero talanoa support nights – how did you find these?
I have never been one to ask for help and that’s why I struggled, but that all changed when I was contacted by the NZTC Māori and Pasifika support person. She gave me encouragement to attend the fortnightly talanoa and this is when my grades began to pickup and a lot of what I was learning was beginning to make sense. That one-on-one was crucial to my achievements towards the end of my studies.
What are your early childhood education philosophies?
Respect and love is the foundation of my teaching philosophy. I believe that if you are a teacher who possesses these two qualities then you’ll have the ability to draw it out of your students and understand them better holistically. You will have the patience, time and dedication to ensure that the children you teach are fully supported to become competent and confident leaders for the future. I believe that children learn so much better through respectful and loving relationships.
Did studying help you shape that philosophy? If so, how?
In a way it did - especially when I learnt more about the different theorists and their perspectives on how children learn and develop. I was able to link those theories to my own philosophy. We have an inborn way of doing things which makes up who we are and it’s not until we match it with those theories that we begin to gain an understanding of who we are and why we do things a certain way.
What advice would you give other people thinking about studying early childhood education?
Anyone I find interested in ECE, I always direct them to NZTC. I loved studying there because the focus on early childhood education is strong and help is always going to be guaranteed. A recommendation for new students is to set yourself a strict study routine, especially for the readings, because it is the readings that are going to fill your brain with the knowledge and understanding of how children grow and develop.