'It opened my eyes to how I could become more responsive to the needs of all my students...'
Graduate Diploma in Arts in History
Gareth has a passion for learning and it’s a passion he aims to pass on to others, whether through sport coaching or through a career as a teacher. Gareth notes that he really enjoyed his own school experience and feels motivated to help others to enjoy theirs too.
‘I endeavour to make school and education an enjoyable experience for all students. I acknowledge that some aspects of school are not always for everybody. Yet, if it is approached in the correct manner, I see no reason why school and education cannot be an enriching, fruitful and enjoyable experience for all young people,’ he says.
Gareth originally started his university studies in Otago, but switched to UC to undertake the Bachelor of Sport Coaching degree. He liked the way the degree was taught and he also liked having the opportunity to meet people with the same ideals and passions he had.
‘I really enjoyed the balanced nature of the degree. It has a unique blend of theory and practice. It offers the opportunity for students to pursue their passions, through tailoring the coaching practice to align with the sporting context each person wants to follow. Getting the chance to work with like-minded people is also a great aspect of the programme.’
Working with athletes of numerous ages and backgrounds, Gareth began to seriously consider a career as a teacher.
‘While completing my Sport Coaching programme I thought, “I really enjoy helping people have a positive experience in education. What is a career that offers me that opportunity?” Teaching was the obvious choice.’
After completing his Sport Coaching degree, he went on to study a Graduate Diploma in Arts majoring in History, after which he enrolled in the Master of Teaching and Learning (MTchgLn) degree. He responded to the environment where he could engage with other students from varied backgrounds.
‘All the people who have entered the Master of Teaching and Learning programme have brought a unique set of skills. That is why I have really enjoyed the programme – you get to work with people who are very talented in their chosen area. This creates a very tight knit community in the programme, in which we have all become very good friends.’
In addition to the collegial atmosphere, Gareth enjoyed the way the MTchgLn degree focused on the role of the teacher and the needs of individual learners.
‘This gave me the ability to think critically about my teaching and the influence I have on the people I am teaching. It opened my eyes to how I could become more responsive to the needs of all my students in the classroom,’ he said.
When asked what advice he would give others who were considering study options at UC, Gareth advises them to ‘embrace the opportunity’.
‘The University of Canterbury will help you to create wonderful experiences, pave the path in life you want to live, and develop into you person you want to be. I challenge you to imprint your mark on the University of Canterbury and leave having had an amazing and enriching time. Have no regrets.’