Head of Health and Physical Education / Dean, Otamatea High School
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Health and Physical Education
His studies at AUT helped him find his calling, says sport and recreation alumnus Bruce Alison who now teaches at Otamatea High School in Northland.
“I started out thinking that I wanted to be a personal trainer because I really liked the idea of helping people with their fitness goals. When it was time to choose a university, I checked out AUT online and it had good facilities and the subject options within the sport degree looked interesting.
“In my first year at AUT, we had a local intermediate school come to the gym and we coached them in various sports. After that, I changed a couple of my papers and decided to completely focus on health and physical education as a career. I haven’t looked back. As part of my degree, I also did some research projects in schools and they set me up with connections that helped me get my first teaching job.”
Creating lightbulb moments
As a teacher, he loves watching his students grow in confidence, says Bruce who completed his teacher training outside of Auckland after graduating from AUT.
“I work with great people who are passionate about their work, but to be honest it’s the kids that keep me on my toes. Working with young people can be hard at times but those lightbulb moments happen. Seeing my students grow into capable and confident young men and women is an absolute blessing; one I count myself lucky to be part of.”
Being made head of department was a proud achievement for Bruce.
“I now run a department of six physical education and health teachers. This involves running regular meetings, and planning and implementing the PE and health curriculum in our school. I also organise and run school sporting events, coach sports teams and manage the school’s fitness facility.
“As a dean, I support six whānau teachers and I organise a school iwi of a little over 100 students. Another thing I’m particularly proud of is helping create a school health council that is student run and managed, and focuses on student wellbeing.”
Advice for other students
Having completed his Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in 2012, Bruce has some great advice for other students.
“Study hard, aim high, don’t be afraid to ask questions, have fun and don’t be so fixed on an idea that you're not willing to change your goals.”
Listen to the advice of your lecturers and classmates, he adds.
“I would have been a pretty good personal trainer but I don’t think I would have realised my potential if I hadn’t been prepared to listen to my lecturers and friends. They pushed me and gave me good advice. The lecturers were always approachable and helped guide me where they could.”