Science Teacher, McAuley High School
Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
She had always wanted to gain a university qualification to repay her parents for all their hard work, says Marie Loraine Esekielu who came to AUT as an adult student and completed a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, followed by a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching.
“Gaining a university degree was my way of showing gratitude to my parents. Their early morning starts and struggles didn’t go to waste.
“My study journey spanned over numerous years, and I was fortunate to be surrounded by such supportive family and friends. I was employed in the laboratory at Counties Manukau Health while studying part-time, and they have always encouraged me in my studies.”
Returning to study after a number of years in the workplace had its challenges, she admits.
“Trying to remember how to write essays was probably one of my biggest challenges in completing my Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. Transitioning from writing equations to essay writing was a bit difficult, but I got there in the end with the help of my dear husband and talented essay-writing sister-in-law. Without my faith I wouldn’t have gained my tertiary qualifications, so praise God!
“I want to specially mention my mother who was the calm influence during the periods when I doubted my ability or wanted to give up. I know I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my academic achievements without her continual prayers and words of encouragement. Thank you, mum!”
Ready to become a teacher
Teaching had always been one of her career options, Marie says.
“I think the aspiration to be a teacher partly draws from the fact that this was also my late father’s occupation in Samoa. I felt it was time to hang up my laboratory gown and enter the classroom. I had a great chemistry teacher in high school, and I wanted to inspire other students to the sciences. As a proud Samoan, seeing so few Pacific people in the science field also pushed me into teaching.
“I’m currently employed at McAuley High School. This is my old high school and the science department is great. God knew I needed a supportive teaching environment and this was the best place for me. I like the fact that every day is different, and love the moments when students finally understand a concept that they’ve been struggling to understand. Young people are hilarious and always keep you grounded.”
She says the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching is a great choice for students who want to retrain to become a teacher.
“I’d recommend the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching to other students because the outline of the programme provides future first-year teachers with the necessary tools to navigate their way as teachers. For example, covering topics such as Māori and Pacific culture enables teachers to better understand Māori and Pacific students in their classrooms.”
The support to succeed
The supportive lecturers were the highlight of her time at AUT, Marie says.
“The lecturers are great. They’re always willing to help and are great at delivering their content. Whenever I had questions, they always responded and never made you feel silly with your questions. That supportive vibe was definitely a highlight for me. I’d like to give a shoutout to all the science and Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching lecturers I had – you guys rock!
“The smaller class numbers were also a big thing for me. I find that you’re able to learn from each other through shared discussions, and knowing your classmates builds camaraderie and a support system for each other.”
She would highly recommend AUT to other students.
“Come to AUT – they’ll help you get there. AUT offers a great and supportive learning environment, and you can tap into the support services for students because they really do care. I’m proud to be a graduate of such a supportive and leading modern university.”