Teaching was something Alison Kearsley always knew she wanted to do. All throughout highschool she coached sports teams and interacted with younger kids in any way she could. Having graduated last year, Ally believes her time at the University of Otago College of Education helped her develop into the teacher she always wanted to be.
“My time at the University of Otago College of Education set me up with the skills and confidence to teach. I was able to gain a strong understanding of the Curriculum and how to implement a teaching program of my own.”
“The staff were really supportive and there to help you at any stage. They made a real effort to give useful feedback and support you to become the best teacher you can be.”
Adding Catechetical studies to her Bachelor of Teaching (primary) was a decision influenced by her own schooling, and one that has brought huge benefit.
“I have very happy memories of my time at a Catholic primary school so choosing Catechetical Studies was an easy decision for me. I knew that it would support me getting my foot in the door at a Catholic school. Many schools are beginning to ask for graduates with this Certificate in particular.”
The high number of placements was a real strength of the programme and something Ally really enjoyed.
“I loved getting into schools and putting the skills that I had learnt at University into practice. Interacting and working with the children confirmed that teaching was the career for me. I was able to utilise what I had learnt in Catechetical studies and pass this understanding on to the children.”
After graduating Ally gained a teaching position at an integrated school in Christchurch.
“Gaining the Certificate in Catechetical Studies was a huge benefit for me when looking for jobs; it gave me an instant edge over other applicants.
“It enabled me to have a strong understanding of what a Catholic school is all about and how it differs from other schools. I have firm content knowledge and a range of resources and ideas of how to deliver a strong Religious Education programme.
“One of the papers I completed while doing Catechetical Studies was a compulsory paper that other staff at my school had to complete. I was lucky enough to have already completed it alongside my degree. Otago is the only place you can do that.”
Ally has some simple advice for future students at the College of Education; make the most of every opportunity.
“Get involved in extra courses such as Catechetical Studies - it becomes extremely valuable once you are in a school. Ask questions, gather resources and ideas, listen and take on feedback provided to you. Make the most of anything that you can get your hands - it will be useful in some way in the future!”