Daniel Popping

PE and Outdoor Education Teacher, Rototuna Senior High School - Hamilton, New Zealand

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance / Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary Teaching)
  • Health, Sport and Human Performance
  • Professional Education
  • David Johnstone Charitable Trust Scholarship

What made you choose to study at the University of Waikato?

I grew up in Hamilton and went to high school here. Waikato has a strong reputation, so choosing to study here was a no-brainer. Receiving the David Johnstone Charitable Trust Scholarship was also a deciding factor.

Any favourite subjects?

Two of my favourite subjects were Outdoor Education and Health.

Tell us about what a typical day looks like for you.

I currently work two jobs, so I wake up at 4.30am and train some classes at the local gym. Once I arrive at school, I have breakfast, followed by staff meetings until classes start. After a full-on day of classes, I like to either go surfing or play rugby.

What do you love about your job?

Something I love about working at Rototuna Senior High School is being at the forefront of New Zealand education. I enjoy observing how students respond to the way we teach. One of the rewarding aspects of my job is establishing relationships with my students – it’s great to see them accomplish things through learning.

How do you think you can make a difference through your work?

My workplace makes this easy for me as I’m not constrained by a strict curriculum. Instead, we focus on promoting creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication among students, which are vital not only in the workplace, but at home and any interaction in everyday life.

Any advice for getting into your sector?

I think honesty and integrity can take you far in any sector. It’s important not to change your beliefs – and in teaching, it’s important to find a school that aligns with your beliefs.

How did your years at Waikato make a difference to you?

I prefer working in small groups, so doing a conjoint degree meant I was able to work alongside a tight-knit group of students, who all supported each other. I was also able to develop good relationships with lecturers – sometimes even grabbing a coffee together – which helped shape me into a critical thinker and a better teacher.

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