Whakatāne Intermediate School - Whakatāne, Bay of Plenty
- Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)
- Primary Teaching
For as long as she could remember, Brooke Bayly wanted to be a teacher.
She recalls her favourite childhood game was playing pretend classrooms - she was always the teacher and all her friends were the students.
“From an early age I always had a caring nature towards younger kids,” says Brooke. “As I got older, I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.”
Inspired by her Pāpāmoa Primary School teacher Miss Jennie Abbot, Brooke set her sights firmly on teaching as her chosen career. Although born in Australia, Brooke spent most of her life in Pāpāmoa and the wider Bay of Plenty region. Once she finished year 13 at Pāpāmoa College, it seemed only fitting that she would attend university in Tauranga.
Her timing couldn’t have been better. The University of Waikato led the development of the new Tauranga city campus and Brooke was in the first cohort of first-year students to start there in 2019.
“I was able to study in my own backyard which meant I could stay close to my whānau and friends while getting my dream degree.”
Despite being 100% certain of what she wanted to study, Brooke admits it wasn’t all plain sailing. She missed out on University Entrance by just a few credits which knocked her confidence and she had to do some papers via correspondence over summer.
Once university started, Brooke dug deep to overcome imposter syndrome. Putting in the hard work and making good use of the support services on offer, Brooke proudly completed her Bachelor of Teaching in Primary. She was all smiles when, after a couple of Covid-19 event cancellations, she got to graduate in person in front of her partner and family and alongside her teaching classmates.
Brooke has now taken on her first role teaching Year 7 and 8 students at Whakatāne Intermediate School, and is loving every minute of it.
“Working with adolescents has been the best challenge to start my career,” she says. “I’ve learnt a lot as a teacher but also within myself.”
Looking back on her time at Waikato University, Brooke is effusive in her praise of the Tauranga campus teaching staff who, she says, were her biggest support during her three years of study.
“I have a lot of gratitude for the all the lecturers who helped me but these four ladies - Nadine Ballam, Jill Peterson, Katrina McChesney and Marg Cosgriff - went above and beyond for me,” she says. “They never gave up on me and pushed me to reach my full potential. I can’t thank them enough.”
Now it’s Brooke’s turn to inspire tamariki. She feels her years of study at Waikato have prepared her well for the job.
“Teaching is in my blood now,” says Brooke. “It is my passion and purpose.”