From early childhood to primary and secondary schools, skilled teachers are needed to equip learners to prepare for and thrive in a changing world.
Well-educated teachers with a commitment to lifelong learning will make a positive difference to the lives of the children they teach. Teaching students learn about education theory, relevant to the ages they wish to teach and also study areas such as development changes in children, classroom management, the NZ curriculum, and tikanga Māori. They also learn about teaching in their specialist areas such as Mathematics or English. Students complete practical placements as well as theory and gain skills in analysis, communication, presentation. They also gain an understanding of the NZ curriculum/Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and its context.
Roles and career pathways
Teachers choose to teach in either early childhood education (0-5 years), Māori immersion, primary (school years 0-8) or secondary (school years 7-13 or 9-13). Intermediate schools cover school years 7–8 and are included in primary and secondary teacher education programmes.
To find out more about each of these teaching career options, studying to be a teacher and finding teaching jobs, see TeachNZ.
For more information about how to register as a teacher at early childhood, primary or secondary levels see the Teaching Council Matatū Aotearoa. Teaching offers many opportunities to move into leadership roles within schools and education providers or undertake postgraduate research and be involved in teacher education. Outside of school systems, there are opportunities to work as educators for art galleries, museums, zoos or as outreach facilitators for youth and health organisations.
Where Teaching graduates work
Early Childhood Education graduates can be found in early childhood education settings such as kindergartens, education and care centres, or whānau and parent-led services such as Kōhanga Reo and playcentres.
Primary and/or secondary teacher qualifications can lead to careers as registered teachers in schools, Kura Kaupapa Māori or alternative education providers.
Beyond teaching, the transferable skills that teachers develop from their studies and work experience can lead to advisory, policy or learning support roles in education and beyond, for example:
- The Ministry of Education
- The Education Review Office
- The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER)
- The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)
- The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)
Build relevant skills and experience
Students looking at undertaking an undergraduate or postgraduate teaching qualification, need to demonstrate self-awareness, intellectual curiosity, passion for learning, appreciation of cultural difference, integrity, and aptitude for working with others. There are many ways these skills can be developed in the workplace. Working as a teacher aide, as childcare or school holiday programme assistants, in community work or youth work are ways to gain experience working directly with people, particularly children, young people and their families.
Internships, part-time work,volunteering and leadership programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) can help develop leadership skills or valuable experience.
Make career connections
One of the best ways to get a sense of what age group you would like to teach is to spend time at a school or early childhood education centre. Call a local school, kura or centre and ask if you can sit in for a day – it may be your old school, or you may know someone who works there. Approach a school visit as you would when you talk any employer to find out what working in their area is like (an informational interview), and follow up with a thank you e-mail to create a lasting impression.