Auckland Schools Teacher Training Programme

Teaching is not only profoundly rewarding but also one of the oldest and most vital societal roles, fostering the exchange of knowledge and skills crucial for all aspects of life. Often, teaching seems to have no quitting time in a day, because there isn’t enough time in a single day to hang up the red pen, the keyboard, the whistle, the unit plan. While we are often envied for our supposed ‘9 to 3’ work hours, with the many proverbial hats we wear during and outside of school hours, educators could easily oversaturate the millinery market.

So it is no surprise, perhaps, that the education sector has been facing a teacher shortage for some time now. As with any long-running issue, the concern is that the initial panic has settled into one of unfortunate acceptance – the ‘c’est la vie’ of the current climate. But to quote Helen Lovejoy, “Won’t somebody think of the children?”

We did. The Auckland Schools Teacher Training Programme, launched in 2021, integrates trainee teachers into full-year onsite learning at a kura. This immersive experience equips educators with comprehensive skills beyond the traditional teacher training college.

As one of the ASTTP pioneer schools, WGHS annually hosts a one-day ‘Delivery of Instruction’ workshop for trainee teachers. The number of trainee teachers in this programme has steadily – and pleasingly – grown, and in week 2, we hosted almost 90 future teachers from various schools around Tāmaki Makaurau this year.

Whaea Karen Kennedy, WGHS Kapa Haka group, and Principal Jane Stanley opened the day with a warm welcome. House prefects doubled as tour guides, showcasing the school grounds before escorting guests to observation classes. Twenty nine of our teachers graciously hosted trainees in their lessons, providing valuable examples and strategies for effective classroom communication. Feedback indicated that trainees were pleased with the strategies collected for their teaching kete.

Rachel Carson presenting her seminar on Delivery of Instruction.

After a delicious and plentiful morning tea prepared by our staffroom manager Ann Muir, husband Mike and year 13 student Riley McPherson, the trainees listened to a seminar presented by Rachel Carson (Assistant HoD of Music, Pupuke Dean).

For the first time this year, we held a session with a student panel (Dorsa Jahedi, Devon Johnson, Alice Oh, Nicole Lau, Hannah Smith, and Julia Wilkins) discussing effective communication from the learners’ viewpoint, offering candid insights from their experiences. My personal takeaway from this session was the importance of synergy in learning: teachers must empathise with today’s teens and their learning styles and needs, while students need to be aware of and understand the diverse needs of the classroom that the sole teacher has to address. With more autonomy than primary students but less so than tertiary learners, the high school classroom epitomises the prefix ‘multi-‘ like no other place. Thank you to the student panel for opening this discourse for our future educators.

The day concluded with a popular seminar on supporting neurodiverse learners led by expert teacher aide Jess Banks, joined by students Kinda Kassibawi, Ashley Young, and Zoe Taikoko, who provided valuable insights. This marked Jess’ third year presenting the talk, and the positive feedback underscored its significance. This was especially important given the needs of neurodivergent learners as highlighted in a recent Education Hub report.

Student panel L to R: Dorsa Jahedi, Julia Wilkins, Hannah Smith, Alice Oh, Devon Johnson, Nicole Lao

I’m pleased to share a piece of feedback from a trainee teacher:

“Of all the workshops I have attended this year, this was the most organised, the most thought out and the most valuable to my practice. Being able to observe a lesson in my specialist area was a huge plus. The kapa haka was one of the most well rehearsed groups I had ever seen, the student panel was well articulated and interesting, the presentations overall were interesting and relevant, and the general hospitality was great.”



Former Turkish President Mustafa Atatürk likened a good teacher to a candle, selflessly lighting the path for others. A large team of WGHS teachers, staff, and students taught in a range of ways, from pedagogy to storytelling to a strong sense of altruism to ensure that future educators would be able to light the way for future learners. Thank you.

Kat Lee (Specialist Classroom Teacher)

Featured image: some of the prefect tour guides.