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Our Staff: Tracy

When asked what the most rewarding thing about working here is, what makes all the challenges worth it, Tracy answers with “The challenge. The challenges are the drawcard.”

It takes a certain kind of person to work at Te Maioha o Parekarangi Youth Justice Residence, says Tracy, Assistant Principal. Tracy started teaching in 2001, and spent time teaching in primary school, and secondary, in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, the Cook Islands – Aitutaki and Rarotonga. After a history of teaching the ‘naughty class’ she realised that she likes working with the kids who could otherwise fall through gaps.

Teaching at Te Maioha o Parekarangi is a different and unique teaching experience. The students are contained within the residential centre and it’s difficult to take them off site. Risk is constantly being assessed – there may be times when you are can’t use pens. How do you create an engaging, interesting program for 13 – 17 year olds within these limitations?

“I would never have passed this at [mainstream] school” she hears from a student – Tracy has lots of proof that, nonetheless, Kingslea teachers do succeed at putting together amazing programmes. Current highlights for Tracy are building go-karts (pictured) and running the school cafe, where students make meals to share with others. Lots of fun practical stuff, which the students love and engage with. But Tracy is also proud of her students who have excelled at book work, some on par with mainstream students. Lots of students leave Kingslea School with NCEA level literacy and numeracy.

Tracy says: “These are students who have been let down all their lives, and they know that you’re there for them. You’re trying your hardest to show them another way. ‘We’re here to give you another chance, show you something different.’ The engagement is a huge reward in itself.”

There are other benefits to joining special schools like Kingslea School. You are given opportunities to grow, and teach in other areas. Very different to Tracy’s experience in mainstream teaching, where she found her path was restricted. And then there are lots of ‘mainstream’ after-school duties and tasks that you no longer have to put up with – you stop working at four… words to make any teacher jealous!

Who should consider teaching at Kingslea? Tracy says that you need to come in without an ego, be genuine, and be yourself with the students. They will immediately know otherwise! And most importantly, you need to care for the students. If you have love for them, you will find that you’re in the right place.

Sound like you? Please check our Vacancies page, or follow us on LinkedIn for new openings.

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