Profiling Iona Old Girls

Two past students of Iona are currently teaching at Mahora Primary School in Hastings. They have had different pathways into teaching – Sacha shares her experiences to date.

Sacha Spurrier

What drew you to teaching initially?

It sounds a little bit cliche, but I have always loved children and being around them. I think that the idea of ‘making a difference’ in children’s lives was also a massive attraction for me. I’m quite a big-hearted, ‘wear my heart on my sleeve’ kind of person and I knew that I needed to be in a profession that I could give my heart to.


Where did you study?

EIT in Taradale.


What did you like about this course?

I really enjoyed the small class size (you’re not in big lectures with lots of people) which allowed for stronger relationships with your lecturers and more time for in-depth discussions with your lecturers and class mates. This way of learning worked for me, as sometimes I struggle with sitting in a large room of people listening/taking in all the info. It is also a very practical course, throughout the 3 years you spend 2 days a week within a school as well as having 5 practicum/placements on top of this (1 in your first year, 2 in your second year, and 3 in your third year). Throughout the 3 years you create fabulous networks with a variety of schools in Hawke’s Bay, which helps a lot when it comes to looking for work at the end of the 3 years (I got my first job at the school that I had my last placement at).


Was there anything you didn’t like?

A lot of the assignments from EIT involved elements that had to be completed with children at school (which you would do whilst at school for the 2 days per week) and sometimes the requirements of the assignment didn’t necessarily align with the reality of a classroom, but I found that with open communication with my lecturers and the teachers at school I was able to work through this.


Have you any comments to make about how you made your choice and the pathway you followed?

I had initially gone to Otago University to study Early Childhood, although I did really enjoy it, I changed to study Psychology after one semester. I studied Psychology for two semesters and then returned home to Hawke’s Bay for personal reasons. I truly believe that it is okay to take your time to decide what you want to do and to not rush into anything because you think that you have to. I’m glad I went home after being in Dunedin to a) work, and b) reflect on what I really wanted to do.


What parts of your job do you love and are most rewarding?

You are not just a teacher in this profession, you’re a social worker and a nurse and a friend and a mentor and a lot of other things! This can feel very challenging and overwhelming at times but it also gives you the most rewarding feeling when you realise how much the children really look up to you and love you. I think that seeing the kids make progress (academically or socially) is incredibly rewarding. Having a class for a year means that you create a very special bond with them, which I think might be the part that I love most.


What challenges have you faced in your study and job?

The job involves long hours and a heavy workload, and classes are now made up of a lot of children with a variety of additional needs.


Do you want to keep teaching the age group you are currently working with?

Yes, I love Year 1 & 2’s!


Would you recommend teaching as a career and why/why not?

Yes absolutely, it’s a fantastic profession to be a part of if you are passionate and willing to go the extra mile. It is crucial that you find a work/life balance though (something that I am still working on in my 4th year!)


Any other comments?

Teaching really requires passion, and it is not a job you choose because of the 9am-3pm days and the holidays (unfortunately that is not the reality). It can be a very hard and challenging profession to be a part of, and can be particularly stressful in your first 2 years as a beginning teacher, however, if you are surrounded by supportive colleagues and people it is a very rewarding job and you will love your children as if they were your own.


Second interview to follow soon.