University of Waikato launches new pathway to teaching with secondary schools

30 October 2020

Educaiton students

The University of Waikato is working with 12 secondary schools to launch an innovative way to educate student teachers in 2021.

The new model will support career changers and top graduates to become secondary school teachers. The coalition of schools includes co-ed, single sex, public and independent schools.

Spokesperson for the coalition and headmaster of Westlake Boys David Ferguson says, “Significantly, this new graduate qualification will see student teachers experience a diverse range of school settings but will be based mostly at one school for the academic year.

“We are really excited about this new model of teacher education. It not only enables student teachers to be fully immersed in a school-based environment, but also provides them with access to mentoring from specialist teachers in their chosen subject area.”

In addition to their regular teacher education programme, each school will host a full day of professional learning and development for the cohort of students.

A global teaching shortage

University of Waikato Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education Professor Don Klinger says educational jurisdictions throughout the world are facing a crisis and there is a growing shortage of highly trained specialists in secondary schools.

"This teacher shortage is most pronounced in subjects such as chemistry, mathematics, physics, technology and second languages. There is a broad acceptance of the importance of these subject areas, and those professional working in related fields commonly identify former teachers as critical mentors.

"In spite of this acknowledgement of the influence of former teachers, these professionals rarely choose teaching as a career option after graduation, and those already in the workforce find it challenging to “go back to school” to start an new career, often at a lower salary, let alone the salary lost during the time required to become a certified teacher," he says.

The University of Waikato has long been an innovative leader in teacher education, and together, the University and these partner schools have created an opportunity for recent graduates or those working specialists who want to give back to support the education of our next generation.

"Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this model is that the schools cover the university tuition for those students selected for the cohort in exchange for a teaching contract in the school after successful completion of the diploma.

“This unique opportunity uses our recently approved graduate and postgraduate diploma programmes. It provides an enriched school context for a cohort of students to be immersed in while completing their teacher education programme.”

Each school is looking for one to three students in 2021, and will cover their course fees. Programme content for student teachers will be delivered online by the University of Waikato.

Students successfully completing the qualification will gain a graduate or post-graduate diploma in teaching at the end of 2021.

Anyone interested in being part of this programme should contact one of the schools directly:

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