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Sarah's Story

Ever since she was in primary school Sarah wanted to be a teacher. Qualifying as a teacher in 1994 in the UK, she gained an immediate position at a London primary school where she taught for the next two years, completing her induction and mentoring under the United Kingdom requirements. It was a great start to her career.

Sarah then took time away from the classroom to do voluntary work and start her own family, settling in Australia for some time.

Back Into the Classroom

Sarah and her family moved to New Zealand two years ago. With her children now at school, Sarah decided to return to the profession.

“After doing volunteer work in the classroom, a teacher aide job came up at the school my boys were at and I was encouraged to apply. I hadn’t officially taught in a classroom for 18 years, so after a bit of research realised I’d have to do TER”.

How it worked for Sarah

Sarah fitted the block courses around the school holiday weeks: “My family were really flexible and gracious. It’s definitely something you need to plan for –in terms of costs and time commitments.

“It was a lot of work. It was a commitment for the whole family really, even though I was the only one doing the course.

 “Did the TER help? Yes. Was it a lot of work? Yes. But am I learning a lot? Definitely,” Sarah adds.

As it turned out, things couldn’t have worked out better for Sarah.

As she explains, “The day I finished the course, I was offered a 0.5 position. By the end of this year, I will have done three terms at a 0.5 level and I’ll only need to do another 5 terms to hold a full practicing certificate.”

Sarah’s reflections

“I really enjoyed the course. Learning about the New Zealand Curriculum was useful. Connecting with other New Zealand teachers and being in the classroom with the practicum component were real highlights – that’s where the rubber hits the road.

“I also found the reading really interesting particularly learning about New Zealand’s bicultural context. That was important to me.

“The TER is perhaps designed to give you enough experience to be a full time classroom teacher. For people like me who are focussed on relieving, a shorter course or curriculum would be ideal. Something that focussed on up to date curriculum knowledge and classroom management perhaps.”

“I want to make sure I’m investing in own kids, as well as those I teach. So relieving or part time teaching is perfect for me.”

However, Sarah agrees that whether you choose to work part-time or full-time, teaching is a profession – not just anyone should be in front of a class, as children deserve the very best teachers.


For more information on some of the improvements that we are making to the Teacher Education Refresh Programme in 2017, visit the TER page on our website