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Travel & Teach - New Zealand


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Patricia Chapman

In order to get a job teaching in a NZ primary/intermediate/high school, applicants must possess full teacher certification. I believe a UK (or some other recognised country's) certification will be acceptable, but for the poor folks like me, with degrees and (eventually) a CTEFL, it is not enough. We can only get odd jobs in schools if we're lucky, or work in one of the English language institutes that are cropping up everywhere.

We have a huge influx of Asian students during their holidays, July-August, mostly from Korea, and in North Shore City (across the bridge, but part of greater Auckland) there's an English language place in every mall and every suburb. Quality is extremely variable, and I fear that there are some rip-offs, as there are Koreans who come here and set schools up, advertise them at home, charge huge sums, and then teach them with Korean teachers whose English is very weak! The poor souls would be better staying home! The government is muttering about controls, and I hope they do, before our reputation as a good place to learn English gets spoiled. Another aspect of the scene here is that many agencies offer free English courses for immigrants and run them often with voluntary teachers, who are nonetheless qualified. Schools also run adult classes with a government subsidy, and these are usually for adults, but use qualified, paid teachers (not necessarily certified).


Christine Turner

New Zealand is quite a pleasant place to live. The climate is temperate, but very variable. We do have seasons, but they are not as marked as in Europe, and the temperatures not so extreme. The northernmost part of New Zealand rarely gets frost, and is subtropical in places. However, in Southland and Otago, winters can be very cold, and summers not very nice! Parts of Otago and Canterbury experience warm, dry (or humid) nor'westers, a type of wind, that can even occur in winter. They raise the temperature quite considerable at times.

The education system in general has been undergoing vast changes over the past few years, changing from Pass/Fail and scaling of marks to unit standards and achievement awards. There is, in general, not enough time spent with both special needs children and the gifted.

As far as teaching English goes, I don't know too much about that but am going to join the ESOL association. As a new member of this profession, I am still feeling my way. However, we do have many immigrants who need English tuition, and there are also many students in both Primary and Secondary schools coming from Asia who require assistance in learning the language. Some of the previous English schools have fallen into disrepute for various reasons, so the government is trying to standardise tuition to some extent. NZQA is involved in both assessing the content of courses offered and the general standard of achievement of students.


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