What it's like to teach in ECE

Early learning teachers discuss what it’s like to work in early learning.

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  • Educators, Teachers and Kaiako
  • Students (Teaching Qualification)
  • All Early Learning Services
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

If you are interested in working in early childhood education, you may find these teacher profiles useful. 

Working in early learning

Every day, New Zealand teachers are creating brighter futures for children and young people, with lessons that can seem small, but are significant in terms of their impact.

These are lessons about important life skills such as confidence, identity, respect and persistence.

Become an early learning teacher or kaiako, and take your place alongside our children and young people. You’ll have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in their lives; to strengthen communities and build a better future for our next generations.

Read below about the experiences of some of our early learning teachers and kaiako, and why they love their profession.  

 Emma Mercier   

   

Joanne Cass

  

Noe Kukupa Kamira Soames 

Nick Batley

 

Verneese Ioane 

Verneese Ioane sits with a child in an early childhood learning centre

Dole Ledesma

Dole Ledesma with a very happy looking child in an early learning centre

Emma Mercier

Age

31

Home town

Manhattan, Kansas, USA

Why I love ECE teaching

Children are naturally kind, generous, and ready to make a positive impact on the world around them.

Being able to foster these qualities and empower them in meaningful ways, enables children to take on and overcome the challenges of the future.

How I got into ECE teaching

I have wanted to be an Early Childhood teacher since I was five years-old.

I started volunteering as a teacher aide in a secondary school, before studying at university in the States, earning a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. I have continued my teaching journey in France, Canada, and now Aotearoa, where I have settled and recently bought a home.  Everyday I learn new ways to challenge and support our young children.

Most rewarding moment

I am passionate about supporting children to be inclusive and connect with people who are different than they are. When I see a child choosing to reach out and be kind or generous to someone with whom they have little in common, I feel so proud of them, and honoured to be part of their learning journey.

Joanne Cass

Age

30

Home town

I grew up in West Auckland.

Why I love ECE teaching

I enjoy getting to work as part of a team – 
especially with mixed aged children, and siblings.  
You also get to see them working together. 

A lot of the older children will help the younger ones. For example if a young child falls over, an older one will run up and check they are alright.

How I got into ECE teaching

I always wanted to teach young children. 

I grew up with a sister who has disabilities so I developed that empathy early on, which you need as a teacher.

I went with my sister to activities and support groups, and feel like I have been immersed in education from a young age. 

Most rewarding moment

When a boy, who was having difficulty learning how to speak, said a new word. 
He suddenly said: “Ocean”.

Noe Kukupa Kamira Soames

Age

31

Home town

Kawerau

Why I love ECE teaching

As an Early Childhood Teacher I can look back on my week and reflect on how much I enjoy doing something so worthwhile – rather than simply to earn a living.

How I got into ECE teaching

I started out cooking in an Early Childhood Centre. I became curious as to what teaching was like and made the natural progression into the profession. 

Most rewarding moment

Being able to apply what I learnt though my studies has been rewarding. I am surprised to see that the majority of what I’m learning on the job can also be applied to me personally, as an adult. 

Through nurturing children I am able to grow daily as a person, a professional, and as a kaiako.

Nick Batley

Age

40

Home town

I grew up on the North Shore in Auckland,
where I still work.

Why I love ECE teaching

I joined this profession because I want to help people. Some children are shy and do not know much English when they start. 

It is very rewarding seeing them grow -  as they become more confident and happy interacting with other children, staff and parents.

How I got into ECE teaching

I wanted to help people. For me it was a choice between this or joining the Police, after working in the printing industry for some years. 

Early childhood education suited me best so I chose this path.

Most rewarding moment

As head teacher, my reward is seeing the happiness of children resulting from a room – or team – that’s running well.

Verneese Ioane

Age

29

Home town

I grew up in Otara, in south-east Auckland.

Why I love ECE teaching

I like building relationships with children, their families, and getting to know them on a more personal level – which includes learning different languages.

I am passionate about learning different languages and I enjoy working in a centre with families from a diverse range of cultures.

How I got into ECE teaching

I initially wanted to do travel and tourism when I left school, but ended up working part-time during a ‘gap year’ at my old primary school.   That sparked my interest in teaching and I trained instead as a primary teacher. 

I’ve nearly finished studying my ECE papers so I can be fully qualified to teach in both primary and early childhood sectors.

Most rewarding moment

Being able to see children grow with confidence. It helps me gain new skills and grow as a teacher.

Dole Ledesma

Age

44

Home town

I grew up in Manilla, the capital of the Philippines.

Why I love ECE teaching

I love being with children. They make you child-like and you are able to come into their world, and forget your problems when you are with them. 

It’s like you are in a different world.

How I got into ECE teaching

I did a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and was working in a bank as a teller in the Philippines, when I decided I wanted to teach. 

I resigned to do post-graduate study in early learning.  Teaching is a good qualification to have for getting work overseas. 

Most rewarding moment

It’s the simple things every day - like suddenly when the children see you, and run to you ... you feel special because they remember you.

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