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Spotlight on Staff: Laura Parker

New entrant and Year 1 teacher Laura Parker is a local through and through. She grew up in West Harbour, has three children, and her daughter now attends her old primary school, Marina View.

Mrs Parker tells us what it’s like teaching five year olds.

Where were you before ACG Sunderland?

I’ve been teaching for around ten years. My first school was a Decile 1 school in Otahuhu. It was an awesome start for me because it gave me strategies to use to manage behaviour. After that I taught in a number of others – every school teaches you something else.

Relief teaching also gave me opportunities to see how different teachers taught in different schools and provided good ideas for when I would have my own class.

I started at ACG Sunderland in 2014.

What’s your favourite thing about the school?

I feel like we have a real opportunity to get to know our students well because of the small class sizes and open communication with parents. Responsive parents make a huge difference to learning in the long run.

What’s it like teaching five year olds?

What I love about teaching lower primary is that five year olds have such a passion to learn. They actually need to learn how to learn. Once they’ve got that, I see a lot of progress in a short amount of time – you can almost watch the lightbulb switching on. In a year, they go from not being able to write their name to writing three or four sentences.

There are challenges of course. Every child arrives at the school with a different background and knowledge – no two five year olds are equal!

What makes a good teacher?

At this level, it’s someone who cares about the child. Not just at an academic level, but the whole child – the social, the emotional, all of it.

Why did you become a teacher?

I had a teacher one year when I was 11 years old who cared about me and wanted me to do well. Her name was Mrs Bergen-Stewart and she still works at Marina View School. I learnt a lot in that year, and really felt it was the first time a teacher had shown a lot of care. I just wanted to be like her.

What are you interested in outside of school?

I have three children who are 6, 3 and 1. They keep me busy! I’m studying a certificate in interior design and I’m interested in photography [Mrs Parker ran a photography workshop at the school last year]. And I do some painting, mostly abstract.