New teachers settling in

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 13:45 06/02/2013
Gordon Edwards
Emma Dangerfield
New teacher at Kaikoura Primary School Gordon Edwards

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Kaikoura

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Usually the new school year brings with it a raft of new teachers to the district, however this year there are just a few new faces to welcome.

Gordon Edwards joins the teaching staff at Kaikoura Primary School, bringing with him a love of sport and passion for education.

Gordon is originally from Balclutha so he is very much enjoying what must feel like unusually hot summer weather, although his first teaching position was further north, in Hawera.

Gordon studied at Dunedin College of Education and specialises in physical education.

He enjoys playing a range of sports including rugby, touch and cricket.

His welcome to Kaikoura has been very warm, and he says he has enjoyed getting out and meeting the community.

Parents at the school, his co-workers and a very supportive principal have all made him fit right in and he is looking forward to getting to know more people throughout his time in Kaikoura.

He is teaching Tohoranui E class, which is made up of years 3 and 4 and is contracted up until the end of term two.

Suburban School also welcomes a new teacher, Emma-Jayne Selwyn, who is originally from Christchurch.

Emma-Jayne has a degree in Japanese from Christchurch Polytechnic and spent seven years teaching English in Japan before studying to become a teacher at Massey university last year.

This is her first teaching position and although she is only in week two, she says she is loving it.

She is working in a supportive role, watching the other teachers at work and getting to know the culture of the school, although she does have her own maths class.

Emma-Jayne is married to Hideki, who is employed part-time at Encounter Kaikoura.

The couple enjoy walking and getting out and about in nature, so they are thrilled to be surrounded by so much natural beauty.

They are also keen to get involved in the community and are looking forward to meeting the locals.

Last but not least is Robyn McConchie, who is neither new to the area nor to teaching.

Many will already know Robyn from her various stints as teacher aide at Hapuku School in 1998 where she worked for three years before doing her teacher training in Christchurch.

Robyn then came back to Kaikoura, her home town, and spent two years teaching English, maths, social studies and te reo Maori at Kaikoura High School before spending a year in full immersion in order to fulfil her dream of becoming a te reo teacher, coming back from that for one more year at the high school.

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Robyn went on to teach a junior bi-lingual class at Aorangi School in Christchurch, followed by a teaching position at Freeville School in North New Brighton where she started the bi-lingual unit which developed into two classes.

She remained there until the earthquakes finally took their toll.

"After that I decided I really needed to come home to Kaikoura," she says.

"My school was broken - we lost 50 per cent of the buildings - and my house was also broken. With the constant changes and stress I had just had enough. Mum and Dad are here and I decided it was time to come and hang out with them for a while."

Robyn is working as a te reo teacher for two days a week at Hapuku School, as well as one day a week at Cheviot Area School.

She is happy to be back home and in a nurturing environment such as the little community at Hapuku, and can't wait to get out on field trips, water-safety excursions and school camps.

"As teacher aide I would love that and that's what I am now looking forward to - you never stop learning. The plan is to be here as long as I am happy. That's always been my whakaaro."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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