Emma Dutton

University of Waikato Tramping Club president

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)

It was her experience as a primary school student that inspired Emma Dutton to study a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) degree at the University of Waikato.

“I personally had some absolutely amazing teachers who helped me when I was younger, to catch up to the rest of the class,” says Emma, who is currently in her second year of university study. “Since I was seven or eight I knew I wanted to help students as much as those teachers helped me.”

Her caring nature, and passion for working with young people, cemented the plan.

“I always wanted to work with kids, and play an important role in their lives, helping them become who they want to be,” says Emma, who worked as a swimming coach with Parafed New Zealand teaching disabled kids how to swim as a teenager. “So, teaching was always in my mind as what I wanted to do.”

Emma grew up in rural Northland on a beef farm and attended Tauraroa Area School near Whangarei. By Year 12, she had a clear plan for her future.

“Everyone was thinking about university and where they wanted to go. But me, but I’ve known for ages: I am doing teaching. I’m going to Waikato. And I am going to be in Student Village. So I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do early on.”

She was influenced by other former Tauraroa students, a few years older, who had chosen to go to Waikato, and lived at Student Village.

“I came for Open Day in 2021 and I fell in love with the campus. I love it here, I love the lake and the greenery and being able to walk around campus and feel safe here. I knew this was where I wanted to be.”

The excellent reputation of Waikato’s School of Education was another key factor.

“The teaching programme at Waikato is one of the best in New Zealand,” says Emma. “I love learning from all the amazing lecturers I have.”

The hands-on nature of the degree, which provided a diversity of practical experience in a range of classrooms, was also valuable, says Emma.

Last year she worked at Tamahere Model School one day a week, plus a few blocks, working with Year 1 and 2s initially, then later with Year 5 and 6s.

This year she is working with a Year 7 class at Hamilton West School.

Her teaching practicums are not the only hands-on leadership experiences that Emma is enjoying. As a resident leader in Student Village, Emma works in a pastoral care role, looking after a new intake of mostly first-year students living in the halls on the Hamilton campus.

She is also president of the University of Waikato Tramping Club, and enjoys being involved in the community, meeting new people, and helping others.

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