Year 7 and 8 Teacher, St John the Evangelist Catholic School
Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching)
She is glad she had the courage to follow her dream to become a teacher, says Marryanne Galumalemana who completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) and is now a teacher at St John the Evangelist Catholic School in Otara.
“I’ve always loved children, even as a child, but I never thought that teaching was the path for me as I lacked confidence in myself and my abilities. I previously completed a degree in sociology and employment relations at another university. Yet, God called me to teaching. At first, I thought this was a mistake but once I began this journey, it all made sense. I’ve loved being among our rangatahi and witnessing their growth.”
After deciding to come to AUT because she could study at the South Campus, which is close to her home, she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AUT’s Bachelor of Education to others.
“If you’re thinking about teaching and working with our rangatahi, especially Pacific and Māori, then go for it. Although there are challenges, it doesn’t compare with the blessings and rewards you get from teaching our younger generation. I feel absolutely blessed to be teaching the amazing Year 7 and 8 students at St John the Evangelist Catholic School.”
For Marryanne, the people she met throughout her studies were the highlight of her time at AUT.
“I loved meeting amazing people who share the same passion for supporting and guiding our Pacific and Māori students in their learning. We’re often overrepresented in negative statistics, so there’s a huge need for change. I’m also grateful for the amazing support by the teaching staff and the student services at AUT. Without them all, I don’t think I would have graduated.
“I also appreciated all the opportunities I was given at AUT. I was able to develop my own teaching philosophy, find my own voice and thoughts through my studies and help first-year students at the start of their education journey.”
Her greatest experience was the course on inclusive education, which sparked a newfound passion for special education.
“It was a requirement for this course to volunteer with a centre, school or organisation that worked with young people with diverse learning abilities or special learning needs. I got involved with Starjam, which offers dance and music workshops to rangatahi with a variety of disabilities. I got to meet amazing people who changed my perspective on people with disabilities. They had such different personalities, interests, talents and skills but most of all, so much love for those around them. Now, I have a great passion for special education and in reducing barriers for our rangatahi with diverse needs.”
Advice for other students
Having graduated from AUT in 2021, Marryanne has some great advice for other students.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The lecturers at AUT are extremely understanding, but it does require you to communicate and keep them in the loop of what’s going on. Mental wellbeing is supported at AUT, and there will be times when your mental health will falter which is okay. Know that there are services for you to seek help from. Sometimes you will fail in one of your classes. This is okay too. Don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it and try again.”
She speaks from her own experiences.
“Because of COVID-19, I had to withdraw a semester, which shifted my graduation by another year, but during that time my mental health took a dive. For the first time ever, I wasn’t able to get myself out of a funk and needed help.
“When I reached out to my lecturers and the student services about this, they were empathetic and understanding, and gave me extra time to complete upcoming assignments. This alleviated my stress a bit. It was truly a blessing to have their help and support during this difficult time.”