English Teacher, Westlake Boys’ High School
Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching
The teaching placements were the highlight of her studies, says AUT education alumna Carla Boniolo.
"All students complete three teaching placements. Through my placements I could experience a diverse range of schools all over Auckland, and have been privileged to teach in both high and low decile schools. The placements were so valuable and nicely complemented the theory we learned in class."
For Carla, the workplace experience has been the most important part of the programme.
"The placements help you develop your identity as a teacher and network with teachers at a variety of schools. My supervising teachers were highly supportive and let me take over their classes within my first week on placement. One of them also provided me with a reference, which helped me secure my first teaching job," says Carla.
Discovering a passion for teaching
Teaching wasn't always on the cards for her, Carla admits.
"After high school, I started studying law and English, but in my third year I realised it wasn't the right career path for me. I had always thought about teaching, as I loved school while growing up, and after doing more research I realised that teaching incorporates all of my passions – people, talking and writing."
The Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching was a great way to build on her previous degree and turn her dream for teaching into reality, says Carla.
"In our cohort we only had 25 students who are training to be teachers, and the smaller and interactive classes have made such a difference to my studies. I also love that the assignments are meaningful and relevant. For example, we've had to produce a full unit plan, like any teacher would. It has equipped me with important skills I can put into practice in my first teaching job."
Advice for other students
After graduating in 2016, Carla has some great advice for other students.
"My advice for future AUT students is to take on every opportunity. I strongly believe that your teaching placement is like a job interview – put yourself out there and say yes to every opportunity, as you never know who might be watching and what it may lead to," she says.
"Schools are such dynamic and interesting places, and there is always something going on that you can involve yourself in. For example, I volunteered for lunchtime duties and attended staff meetings while I was on my teaching placement. These extra commitments allowed me to experience school life outside of the classroom and I was so grateful for the learning experience."
She loves teaching at Westlake Boys’ High School, Carla says.
“I now have a management unit and have a curriculum leadership position at Westlake Boys’ High School. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding, to have this position.”