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Otago's People: Greg Rawson

Q & A with Greg Rawson

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Greg Rawson

Greg Rawson is a Master of Teaching and Learning alumnus who now works as a Year 3 teacher at St Heliers School in Auckland. He says that making the move from international business studies and a recruitment career in Hong Kong was well worthwhile.

Greg, who grew up in Hong Kong, has always been interested in travel. After completing an Honours degree in International Business at the Manchester Metropolitan University he worked as a recruitment consultant at a prestigious recruitment agency in Hong Kong.

His experiences working with young people and adults during his school years, and as a university tutor, prompted him to take an opportunity to work as an Educational Assistant at the prestigious Hong Kong international school, Discovery Bay International School (DBIS).

At DBIS Greg saw the difference teachers make on a daily basis, and the fulfilment that a job in education can bring. On the advice of DBIS’ principal, Greg applied for the University of Otago Master of Teaching and Learning programme.

Greg talked to us about his new career in teaching and his memories of life at Otago.

What have been the highlights of your teaching career thus far?

With the training provided by the University of Otago College of Education, I was fortunate to land a Year 3 teaching position at St Heliers School in Auckland. This role has allowed me to continue my passion for teaching young learners to develop academically and socially. With the support of my associate teacher, alongside the management and wider teaching community at the school, I have been able to take what I have learnt at University and further develop my teaching practice.

A key highlight of starting my teaching career is the sense of being truly integrated within a school’s community. Working collaboratively with a highly skilled and enthusiastic associate teacher, as well as the rest of the Year 3 team, has meant I’ve witnessed first hand what great teaching and learning looks like.

With this being my first year of teaching, I’ve been astonished to see how rewarding the profession can be, and to see first-hand how fast your students grow and develop over such a short time frame.

How has Otago helped shape your life and career?

Undertaking my Master in Teaching and Learning at the University of Otago has helped to shape my life and career. It allowed me to experience a true New Zealand lifestyle, integrating into a new culture and meeting new people. With the course having a strong emphasis on placements at schools, it allowed me to adapt to the New Zealand school system with ease. With this time spent in schools, alongside the support from lecturers at the University, I felt as though once I had completed the course I was comfortable and competent enough to step into my own classroom.

Highlights and interesting memories of your University days?

A key highlight from my year at the University and time in Dunedin was meeting new people and making lifelong friends. Being part of the College of Education community meant that even when the year got tough you had a strong network of support around you from your peers and lecturers.

Joining a local field hockey team, Kings United, as well as developing a good group of friends, meant that I was able to make the most of my free time.

Do you have any memories of favourite or standout lecturers?

Amongst the fantastic lecturing staff at the College of Education, Dr Helen Trevethan stands out. I was fortunate to have Dr Trevethan as a University liaison during my first professional experience in a New Zealand school. I found her to be incredibly supportive, especially since I had just moved to a new country and had never experienced New Zealand schools before.

Do you have memories or impressions of Dunedin that you’d like to share?

Arriving at Dunedin International Airport on the 1st of January having never visited the city before and thinking where is the city? Having not fully planned my journey I made the mistake of getting a taxi from the airport into the city.

Being fully welcomed into the University of Otago community meant that easing back into student life was done so with ease. The real mix of a student city lifestyle with the countryside only a ten-minute drive away meant that I was able to have a true Dunedin experience.

Personal highlights?

Finishing with a Master of Teaching and Learning in Primary Education and securing a fantastic teaching position.

Having played field hockey my whole life, Dunedin allowed me to continue my passion for playing team sports. Dunedin also provided many opportunities to continue another passion of mine, watching live bands, at events such as the fantastic Vogel Street Party.