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Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ

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Monty Jones

Bachelors of Science and Economics graduate from the University of Auckland
Currently teaching Mathematics at Tamaki College, Glen Innes.

Three years ago, Monty Jones side-stepped his corporate career path to join the Teach First NZ program. Here he shares a few words about what evoked this change of path and why he calls this shift his "best life-defining decision to date."

What made you want to change career from a corporate career to work as a Teach First NZ participant?

I decided to change from a graduate program with a multinational corporation after stumbling across my original application letter to the university. In this letter, I wrote that I was not sure what job I wanted to have, but that I wanted to get up each morning and know that I was making a positive difference. Teach First NZ provides an unparalleled pathway to do this.

What would you say to those who say teaching is not a rewarding career path?

Teaching is the first vocation that I have been proud to tell people about when they ask "So, what do you do?". This is because teaching in schools supporting low decile communities is such a challenging, rewarding and unique experience. I have become immersed in a community that does not have a high median income but is rich in culture, talent, and passion. I am inspired by the youth that I deal with on a daily basis and whatever I go on to do in life, I will take this experience with me.

What has been the most rewarding thing about your career change?

  • Having a job that I want to get out of bed for and that I know I am doing the best I can to improve educational outcomes for our tamariki.
  • Getting the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities at school. (For example, I have just arrived back from a day kayaking from Okahu Bay and have helped a student overcome their fear of water)

What would you say to those who are thinking about joining the programme?

It was a very hard call to decide what I wanted to do with the next step in my life, but joining Teach First NZ is an amazing opportunity and it has been my best life-defining decision to date.


Alumni Destinations

Ruby Hale

“How I became a Policy Analyst”

Ruby Hale, an alumna from the inaugural 2013 Teach First NZ Cohort, is currently working as an Assistant Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Education. Here, she shares a few words about her journey, her motivations, and some advice to live by.

Kia ora! Tell us a bit about yourself

My name’s Ruby, and I’m an alumna of Teach First NZ: Ako Mātātupu’s inaugural 2013 Cohort, where I taught English at Alfriston College in Manurewa. I’m currently working as an Assistant Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Education.

What drew you into this sector?

Originally, I had a strong interest in aid and development and was really fascinated by issues of global inequality. Working with the Salvation Army in Christchurch really brought to my attention the issues of inequality and inequity in Aotearoa. I saw education as having the potential to be used as a tool to promote equity, and for giving people opportunities to make positive changes in life. Throughout my time as a participant and an alumna of the Teach First NZ Programme, I always maintained an interest in the bigger systems and structures of the education system and their role in either promoting equity or perpetuating inequity or both. After completing further study in Public Policy, I’ve made the move into the Policy space, working in the Pasifika Education Policy team at the Ministry of Education. I see Policy as an opportunity to make sure that the education system is responsive to everybody, and to ensure that it gives everybody a fair and equitable chance. As it stands, there’s more work to be done.

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