Discovering a passion for teaching


Arts graduate Lui Lafou says he “stumbled” into teaching. The fact that he’s remained is no accident.


Lui completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 2004 with the desire to become a diplomat.

Following graduation, he travelled to Samoa in search of work where, he says, he took up an unexpected job as a relief teacher and spent six months teaching Year 13 English at St Joseph’s College in Alafua.

“I had to teach To Kill a Mockingbird to 40 students with only 10 copies of the novel. I had no idea what I was doing; I had to come up with my own strategies and plan,” he says.

“I remember when I finished, one of my students asked if I was coming back. When I questioned why, she said she really enjoyed my lessons, and that she had learnt something. I knew at that moment I was going to be a teacher.”

Currently a teacher at Bishop Viard College in Porirua, Lui says that his career took a varied course from there. “I went to Tokelau for a holiday and ended up living there for four years teaching. And although I was passionate about teaching, I felt that there was something missing.”

Lui wanted to become a qualified teacher, so he returned to Victoria’s Faculty of Education, where he completed a Postgraduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) in 2010.

The postgraduate qualification helped with planning, reading the curriculum and how to cater for differentiation, says Lui. “It opened my eyes to better ways of doing things.”

He says it’s hugely rewarding when a student gets something you’ve taught them.

“You can see it in their eyes that they’ve made the connection—and you think yes, if that’s all that’s going to happen today, I’ve made a difference.”