George Aitken

George Aitken

Year 8 Teacher, Devon Intermediate School, New Plymouth
Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching)

What he enjoys most about his job is watching his students have lightbulb moments, says education alumnus George Aitken who now works at Devon Intermediate School in New Plymouth.

“I love seeing a student’s face light up with the realisation and understanding that they’ve finally grasped something they struggled with before.”

George’s role involves teaching Year 8 students, as well as looking after the school’s sports programme.

“I’m responsible for teaching the whole New Zealand curriculum – Mathematics, Reading, Writing, Science, Physical Education, Digital Technology etc. As a sports coordinator, I’m also managing and monitoring sports budget and equipment, school-based sports events, and inter-school and Auckland basketball zone days.”

A forward-thinking education programme
Being able to spend more time practising his skills in a school environment was what initially attracted him to AUT, George says.

“I heard from a past student that the practicum aspect of the education degree was better at AUT; providing more time in schools to learn first-hand the skills and techniques to teach effectively. AUT has a forward-thinking education programme, focused on directing learning towards teaching and using practical opportunities to consolidate theoretical knowledge.”

The connections and friendships he made at AUT were the highlight of his studies.

“The group projects provided opportunities to work with a variety of people, and learn how to manage people’s strengths and weaknesses. AUT’s culture of support ensured that we all had a safe place to reflect and celebrate our experiences. All of this has transferred into my professional career; having a network of support and resources to tap into is invaluable.”

Advice for other students
George, who graduated from AUT in 2016, has some great advice for other students.

“My advice would be to ask questions and make mistakes – this is your time for learning and growing.

“Push yourself outside of your comfort zone; nothing is achieved by playing things safe.”

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