Jeanette Foyle teaching in the classroom, only days after completing EIT Tairāwhiti’s new teaching degree
A new education faculty at EIT Tairāwhiti, along with a truckload of perseverance, enabled a young Gisborne mother to complete her lifelong dream of becoming a fully qualified teacher.
Jeanette Foyle, 31, will make local history when she becomes the first student to graduate with a new teaching degree from the institute’s School of Education and Social Sciences in Gisborne.
She was thrilled to be able to undertake the degree in Gisborne, where she has a support network that enabled her to combine motherhood with fulltime study.
However, it was never an easy road. She had not been in a classroom since leaving Campion College in 2003, which knocked her confidence. Jeanette believes she would not have completed were it not for the unflagging support of her lecturers and students in the following two intakes where the roll has increased
It was that support and the two days a week spent in primary school classrooms that kept her going, along with the annual practicum blocks, where she spent whole weeks shadowing teachers and learning to lead her own lessons in the classroom.
“It was really hands-on learning – I got to be there from the start of the day to the end of the day and to the end of the week.”
By her final year, when she had two five-week practicums, she felt she was really able to get to know the children and see the progress in their learning.
“This year I saw two beginner teachers setting up their classroom and I thought ‘I can’t wait until this is me’.”
The first step towards realising her passion was when she found herself in the classroom two days after finishing the degree, as a relieving teacher at Te Wharau School. Although she was nervous at first, by the end of that first day she was feeling inspired and exhilarated as it sunk in that she had made it.
“It was a tough degree – I had to get the results. In year one you have one chance to resubmit an assignment. In year two, you have two and in the final year, you have none. You have to pass every assessment to stay on the programme.
“It’s been tough but I am here because of everyone’s support. Without that I would not have made it.”