Enrolling in an adult teaching degree at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is what taught Sheryl Waru the value of a good education.
“Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is structured around you and the ‘ah-ha’ moments are simply your pathway to finding new and innovative ways to showcase your skills and to learn new ones. It’s here that I learned the true value of teaching and learning,” she says.“Tauira Success is certainly a mantra that I used throughout my journey. I filled my kete with some good resources and infused this learning into my own teaching space,” the Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rereahu mother says.
Learning is not just done in a traditional classroom space anymore, it’s really about the delivery and engagement that keeps this space moving.
During the three-year course, Sheryl faced many challenges, including long trips from her home in Auckland to Rotorua, where the programme was based, and juggling her responsibilities as a working mother. But her biggest challenge was when her daughter passed away in 2017. “Our world changed. I changed, her dad changed, but our love for her remains unchanged. She was my best friend, my mentor and inspiration to continue into the world of technology,” she says.
Support from her kaiako helped get her through the toughest times. “Kaiako at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa manaaki their tauira and I was in awe of their strength, integrity and the time they put into my learning, keeping me on task to make sure I crossed that stage to graduate,” she says. Sheryl crossed that stage at a graduation ceremony in Rotorua in mid-2018. “My whanau were there in full force, so the long travel, hard work and support, it all paid off. I had hoped to make my daughter proud. Even though she’s in heaven, I know she crossed that stage with me,” she says.
“Sometimes life throws you curve balls and the automatic reaction is to step away. That was a humbling experience.” Sheryl’s academic transcript – which now includes He Korowai Ākonga – Bachelor of Education (Adult) along with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership – show she loves teaching as much as she loves learning. And she is doing that with the organisation that gave her those teaching skills, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Sheryl began teaching the Diploma in Adult Education in 2015 and currently teaches the Certificate in Adult Tertiary Teaching in Auckland.