Specialist Classroom Teacher, Fraser High School - Hamilton, New Zealand
- Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance
- Master of Educational Leadership
- Graduate Diploma of Teaching
- Certificate of University Preparation
- Health, Sport and Human Performance
Roman Akroyd only told his parents he’d enrolled at the University of Waikato a few weeks before he left Gisborne for Hamilton.
He’d been living at home, had finished school and had spent a year working in a fruit pack house to earn some money.
“I didn’t work as hard as I should have in my senior years at school. But my friends had all left town and there I was, still in Gisborne, undecided on what my future held.”
He contacted his old principal at Gisborne Boys’ High, Greg Mackle, and talked to him about his career prospects, and Greg suggested the University of Waikato as a good starting point.
Roman (Rongawhakaata, Ngāi Te Rangi) booked himself into student accommodation in College Hall and enrolled in a CUP course at the University of Waikato.
The Certificate of University Preparation teaches the tools and skills students need to begin degree-level study. “It really does set you up for university,” says Roman, "I’d always thought that uni was only for high achievers. But it’s also for people who are prepared to work hard. It made the transition from working to university life easier and I met similar students in the same position as me, which helped to ease my perception of university."
After completing CUP, Roman enrolled in a Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance. “I threw myself into study. I thought of all the sacrifices my parents had made for me while I was growing up and I wasn’t going to let them down. I promised myself I wouldn’t fail anything.” And he didn’t.
He followed up his degree with a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. His first job was managing the gym at Hamilton’s Fraser High School. From there he was offered a teaching job, specialising in Physical Education and Health. He was subsequently promoted to Dean. In between times, he took a year off and taught in London.
“I think different life experiences are useful, to test yourself in different environments and to build resilience,” he says.
Two years ago, feeling a little bit restless and looking for a bit of a challenge, Roman decided to study for a Master of Educational Leadership. He studied part-time in the first year, fitting it in with work and family. Then he was awarded a TeachNZ Scholarship which allowed him to do a year’s full-time study and complete his degree.
After graduating with First class honours, he’s now back at Fraser, teaching and working as a specialist classroom teacher, helping others to improve their classroom teaching. He’s happy in his work at the moment, but maybe if he gets itchy feet again he’ll enrol in a Waikato PhD!