Keeping it in the family: Zac and Ashleigh Te Wake are both studying primary teaching at the University of Waikato in Tauranga.
When brother and sister Zac and Ashleigh Te Wake announced they were both going to study primary teaching at the University of Waikato in Tauranga this year their family was delighted but perhaps not surprised.
Teaching is definitely a profession that runs in the Te Wake family – both parents are teachers, one set of grandparents were both principals, an uncle also teaches and their elder sister is studying secondary teaching.
But rather than simply following in the family footsteps, Zac, 19, and Ashleigh, 18, opted to get plenty of hands-on experience before making their final decision.
“In my last year at school I decided I wanted to be a teacher and had really good feedback from my teachers,” says Zac. “But I didn’t have enough NCEA credits to apply for teaching at first so went to work at my uncle’s school as a teacher aid while completing my maths credits.”
Ashleigh knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was in year 11, and, like Zac, found the time doing teacher aid work invaluable experience and confirmed her decision to apply for teacher training.
Now in their first year of the three year Bachelor of Teaching (Primary), Zac and Ashleigh have never looked back. They’ve made the most of campus life but particularly like the practical environment of the classroom.
“I have really enjoyed working with younger kids during our practical experience and see them achieve something that you have taught them. That’s really cool,” says Ashleigh.
They have spent time in two schools in the first semester and are looking forward to a four-week practicum in October.
As well as learning together, Ashleigh and Zac flat together in Mount Maunganui and have made their enjoyment of sport a family affair – every week their parents and younger sister join them from Waihi to play in the indoor netball league at Mount Action Centre.