These teachers in Auckland work closely to build a better learning environment. (L to r) Beginning teacher (BT) Yvette Ashby-King, tutor teacher Kimberley Kelly, BT Melinda Clow and tutor teacher Maree Londeen.

These teachers in Auckland work closely to build a better learning environment. (L to R) Beginning teacher (BT) Yvette Ashby-King, tutor teacher Kimberley Kelly, BT Melinda Clow and tutor teacher Maree Londeen.

New teacher Melinda Clow speaks highly of the BT programme at Kauri Park. She came late to teaching, and even with a mother who had taught for 40 years, wasn’t quite convinced after she’d trained that she would be able to stick it out in the classroom. But thanks to the programme, she’s convinced she can and will.

“I had a really great tutor teacher, a mentor, who took me under her wing. Officially we met weekly, but in reality it was nearer to daily. I observed her a lot, and other classes. She observed me. There was lots of constructive feedback.” Clow has struggled with the heavy workload and never “switching off” – but the rewards are immense. “I do enjoy it. There was one child who needed a lot of work, but then I could see he really did progress.”

Tutor teacher Kimberley Kelly contrasts this experience with her own as a beginning teacher. “When I went through it was really quite hit and miss. There weren’t specific things set out and you just hoped you got through. “Here we have templates, and everything that we need to cover is set out.”

BTs from Kauri Park School in Auckland actively engage with others in their North Shore cluster. They go on courses together, and principal Terry Taylor sees that as crucial. “It allows teachers to see that they are part of a profession. They get a broader perspective.”