Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)
Kathleen West, the newest member of PPTA Te Wehengarua’s Hamilton field office, tells members a bit about herself.
Tēna koutou katoa
Ko Kathleen ahau
I tipu ahau i raro i te Kaukapakapa
Ko Kirikiriroa toku kainga ināianei
I have been a union activist throughout my 21 years of teaching, from being a branch YANT (the precursor to NETs), secretary and chair; a regional YANTs representative, secretary and chair; to serving Hauraki/Western Bay of Plenty as an executive member.
I was fortunate to be a recipient of the PPTA study award and completed a MEd in policy and practice. I have had the privilege of being a classroom teacher, Head of Department, Specialist Classroom Teacher and a foundation staff member in a range of schools with so many committed and inspirational educators.
I went on to teach in the Teacher Education Refresh Programme and lectured Professional Practise of Teaching at the University of Waikato. Most recently, I spent the last two years teaching the International Baccalaureate of Theatre in Angola. Then the world as we knew it changed with Covid and I returned home. Whilst I was online teaching across three different time-zones, I was delighted to see the role of field officer advertised, which I applied for and subsequently was appointed to.
I am passionate about equity in education and the aspect of my new role I most enjoy is being able to support teachers in their mahi. My regions include Counties Manukau, Central Plateau and branches in Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Having taught in an area school, I am also excited to be the field officer representative on the Area Schools Committee.
My greatest challenge in my branches is to support the amazing members working in them and to convince their fellow members to share that mahi; to dispel the misconception that having a role in the union is a huge onerous task and recognise the many opportunities it affords. My personal journey in education is a testament to the fact that our union offers pathways and opens doors for teachers.