Annette Tiaiti

Annette Tiaiti

Teacher, Parnell District School
Master of Teaching and Learning
Graduate Diploma in Business
Diploma in Event Management

After almost two decades of supporting postgraduate students throughout their university journey, Annette Tiaiti was ready for a new career challenge and decided to enrol in AUT’s Master of Teaching and Learning and retrain to become a primary teacher.

“After many years of working at AUT, I needed a new challenge and found my true calling in primary teaching. Being a mother of two beautiful daughters helped to ignite my passion for teaching. I’m in awe of their appetite to learn while being inspired by their creativity and unlimited imagination. My commitment to exposing my kids to opportunities includes giving them the best education not just at school, but at home as well.

“I enjoy exploring and designing interactive digital resources to engage learners, and I want to give back to the Pacific community by developing positive and effective environments for our ākonga to feel empowered and have aspirations. Watching the ākonga engage in my activities gives me goosebumps and I'm thrilled when I see them ‘get it’. That moment is what makes it all worthwhile and reinforces my career decision even more.”

Going from her full-time office career to life as a student was a big step, Annette admits, but receiving a scholarship to support her studies made the decision easy.

“It felt extremely foreign to give up my full-time position in the tertiary sector to become a full-time student, but being a 2021 Teach NZ scholarship recipient really helped to support me financially without having to worry about a steady income.”

The journey towards becoming a teacher
As someone who thrives in an environment that encourages engagement with others, Annette says she was drawn to the Master of Teaching and Learning.

“The opportunity to study within a small classroom size of students appealed to me, enabling engaging connections as we set on the journey of completing this intensive programme. I was part of an amazing cohort of students – we were each other’s support, both academically and personally. As a kaiako you learn how to become collaborative and responsive in your teaching with others.

“I had never ever thought I would study at a postgraduate level one day, yet here I was defying those thoughts from my past. The biggest challenge for me was getting back into the routine of studying again while juggling being a parent. It takes a lot of sacrifice, compromise and resilience to get through it. I’m extremely grateful to my supportive family, my student colleagues, the AUT teaching staff, and the associate teachers and teaching mentors during my teaching practicums.”

After completing her Master of Teaching and Learning at the end of 2021, she has now achieved her dream of becoming a teacher and is looking forward to sharing her passion for learning with her students.

“I’ve secured a full-time teaching role as a kaiako at Parnell District School where my two daughters attend, and will be teaching in Years 2 and 3. I’m really excited to be teaching in a single-cell classroom where I get to set up my own classroom and create a welcoming environment for my ākonga.”

Advice for other students
Annette has some great advice for other students.

“Don’t set high expectations. I’ve learnt that sometimes you need to fail to learn and grow to be successful. And I was okay with that! Be kind to yourself and look after your wellbeing as resilience is key to being a good teacher.”

She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the programme to others thinking about retraining to become a teacher.

“While the Master of Teaching and Learning is extremely intensive, I’d recommend and encourage prospective students who are up for a challenge to pace and prepare themselves, be kind to themselves and get ready to meet amazing peers while on the journey.”

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