3rd-year student, Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching)
After observing how hard teachers work to support vulnerable children, she was inspired to become a teacher herself, says education student Tali Tanuvasa-Titimanu.
“As a mother who has worked full-time as a youth worker for the past eight years, I’ve witnessed teachers do their best to support our trauma-informed students. I felt that it was now time for me to fill my kete of learning to teach young children and support tamariki to better themselves.
“My goal is to become a registered teacher and then one day study at a higher level to be a voice for all our students. I’d love to one day work at the Ministry of Education, work as a youth counsellor or be a motivational speaker in schools.”
Her family was a big part of her motivation to retrain to become a teacher.
“Missing out on time with my boy due to being at work late at night was a push for me personally to get this degree as it will help me to be here for my son but also have the knowledge to help him with his learning and engagement. I also did this for my parents. After the sacrifices they’ve made for me and my siblings, I feel this is to acknowledge their hard work to get me here. I’d really love for them to see me walk across the graduation stage to receive ‘our’ degree.”
Support and awhi
Now in the final year of her Bachelor of Education, Tali has thoroughly enjoyed her university journey so far.
“I’m proud of realising my potential and my worth, and have enjoyed the friends I’ve made here and the learning and support from staff. The teaching placements you get put into are also a great learning experience. Some you will love, some you won’t love so much but you’ll find your feet and learn to work through it.
“In my first and second year, I was so afraid to fail but my support system at home and my lecturers made sure that I got up and worked. I’m so proud of passing all my assessments. That’s all because of the support and awhi. I can 100% say that AUTs support system is amazing. AUT has catered to my timetable as a mother – they understood that I work full-time and study full-time, and the lecturers will go above and beyond to help you succeed.”
She would highly recommend AUT’s education programmes to other students.
“If you have a passion to make a change in a young person’s life then I say, go for it. The support is there and the love you receive from the young people on your teaching placements is always so nice. If it’s your passion, do it because it’ll all be worth it.”
Advice for other students
Tali’s advice for other students is simple: don’t give up.
“If you want it, don’t just dream it but get up and live it. There will be times when you feel it’s too much and you want to just throw in the towel, but just take some time, breathe, find the right support system, pray and ask for guidance to help you push through.
“Remember that your journey is yours and you run your race at your own pace. Once you start looking around and compare yourself with others, you’ll fall out of your lane and find it hard to get up. So, take your time and do what makes you happy, but remember your why and never give up.”
Tali knows what she is talking about. She initially came to AUT to study nursing but it soon became clear this wasn’t the right choice for her. Even six years later, she still remembers the kindness of one of her nursing lecturers.
“I was so sad and upset but Pam, my nursing lecturer, told me ‘Don’t stop here. You’ve trialled this one out but at this present time it’s not for you. I’d like for you to re-evaluate and when you do decide what you want, this will be your story to tell and I want to hear all about it.’ I left with such a heavy heart and cried, but six years later, I’m happy. I’m in my last year of university and this is my story I’d love for Pam to hear.”