Teacher, Balmoral School
Master of Teaching and Learning
He has always thought about a career in teaching, says Dale Mahlagwai who completed a Master of Teaching and Learning.
“I realised how much of a positive impact a good teacher can have on students. However, I initially did a bachelor’s degree in physiology at another university, but as I progressed through this degree my desire to become a teacher grew stronger.
“When I found out I could pursue a career in teaching through the Master of Teaching and Learning, I worked harder than ever before to meet the minimum requirements for the master’s degree. The idea of studying for one year and gaining the qualifications to pursue a career in teaching really appealed to me. I feel that I got the best of both worlds by exploring my interest area and then preparing for my teaching career, all within four years.”
Since graduating from AUT at the end of 2019, Dale now enjoys teaching Year 7 students at Balmoral School.
“I'm really enjoying teaching. It has its challenges but I can honestly say the best aspects of the job completely overrule the toughest parts of it. Those challenges are also ones I’m more than willing to face as they help me nurture the desirable qualities I'd like to develop in myself, both professionally and personally.”
A culture of support and respect
Originally from Auckland, Dale decided to come to AUT to study the Master of Teaching and Learning.
“I knew the degree is intense, so I wanted to live at home in order to minimise distractions and focus on my studies. AUT is an incredibly supportive environment that provides relevant, interactive and authentic learning experiences. There’s also a great culture of inclusivity and respect for diversity.”
The highlight for him was the overnight stay at the AUT marae in the first week of the programme.
“This was a new experience for me, with new people. It really helped me connect with my new classmates and lecturers in a fun, interactive manner, and highlighted the importance of whānau, community and relationships. The overnight stay at the marae set the tone for the rest of the year with a culture of respect and empathy for one another.”
Advice for other students
Dale has some great advice for other students.
“Make a conscious effort to interact with people from all walks of life. It opens up a range of opportunities to learn, establish quality relationships and support one another.”
There’s plenty of support if you need it, he adds.
“My biggest challenge was when due to unforeseen circumstances I lost a lot of my work and assignments at the peak of the assessment period, and the AUT staff were so understanding. They didn’t only grant me extensions, but provided me with resources and books to help me get back on track.”