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Source: University of Waikato

Having a daughter who is vision impaired led former teacher aide Anna Stevens to pursue a career in teaching and has seen her land her dream job as a Resource Teacher Vision (RTV).

Anna completed her Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) at the University of Waikato in 2019, and will start a new job as an RTV, based at the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ), in term two this year.

“I chose the job of a Resource Teacher Vision because my daughter is vision impaired and her RTV has made an incredible difference to her educational development, safety and overall well-being at school,” says Anna.

An RTV works with blind and low vision students to support them with their education by providing information, resources and assistive technology. They work in collaboration with the student’s families, teachers, and their school or early childhood education centre to assess and assist them in their educational requirements.

Anna was working part time as a teacher aide at Raglan Area School before she enrolled to study a Bachelor of Teaching at the University.

She says she chose the University of Waikato because the teacher qualifications are well recognised around the world, and the University offered an online study option which enabled her to continue working part time.

She says the highlight of her study was finishing her degree with the support of her family and lecturers and knowing that a whole world of opportunities had become available to her, including a pathway into her dream job as an RTV.

“It was definitely a challenging time during my study, particularly in third year with extensive paper requirements and juggling work, study, and parenting four children,” says Anna.

But her time at the University of Waikato prepared her for the role of an RTV by teaching her that no matter what life throws at you, if you work really hard and stay focused on the end goal, you’ll be able to follow your dreams, says Anna.

Anna says she is most looking forward to meeting new students in her new role and will be continuing her education by learning Braille and completing a postgraduate diploma in Special Education (Blind and Vision Impairment).

In the future, Anna says she hopes to continue her collaborative learning journey with the students and staff of BLENNZ and have a long career in the field of Special Education.

“My time at the University of Waikato and studying has taught me if you really want something in life, you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it.”