Tauranga teacher in the paddock

An entrepreneurial approach to education is proving highly sustainable for Papamoa teacher Kevin Powell.

Kevin will be lecturing about his Teacher in the Paddock at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga Education Careers Expo this Friday.

Kevin teaching children about the simplicity of good nutrition and a sustainable lifestyle.

Kevin took to the paddock instead of the classroom and offers a hands on opportunity for adults and children to experience the simplicity of good nutrition and a sustainable lifestyle.

Teacher in the Paddock offers a range of programmes, including after school care, school holiday programmes, community focused nutritional workshops and sustainable backyard events.

While Kevin had every intention of becoming a ‘traditional’ classroom based teacher following completion of his degree, he instead took an entrepreneurial approach to education, establishing the business Teacher in the Paddock – a ‘living outdoor classroom’.

“It helps connect children and adults with their food, where it comes from and how it impacts our health and well-being, as well as many other aspects of renewable living principles,” says Kevin.

“We offer a series of programmes which provide teachers, parents and children a living resource that is cross-curricular. We base these programmes both outdoors on our small lifestyle block and in our house, making this a unique ‘homely’ experience for all.”

Kevin believes education encourages “us to question not only how we see our world, but how to make a positive contribution”.

“Visitors can expect to see a slice of paradise and a way of living that, although somewhat reminiscent of ‘old times’, reflects a growing trend and more sustainable way of being in our age of pre-prepared, pre-packed consumption driven society.

“It showcases our lifestyle, based around self-determination, self-sufficiency and sustainability through the mediums of see, hear, smell, touch, taste and smell.”

While studying his teaching degree at the University of Waikato in Tauranga, Kevin says students were exposed to a range of opportunities demonstrating the diversity of a teaching qualification.

He realised he could pursue any number of careers.

“Prior to setting up Teacher in a Paddock, it dawned on me I had a range of abilities that - coupled with learning to be a teacher - allowed me choices I had never even considered.

“My advice to others considering the teaching profession is to consider your studies as an opening of doors to a world of possibility.”

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education reported only 15 per cent of new graduates are picking up permanent jobs in schools. Kevin is bucking the trend by taking an innovative approach.

“During our studies we were told that employment options could be challenging due to the high volumes of job seekers versus positions available,” says Kevin.

“Things weren’t painted negatively, but in a realistic sense. As with anything though, I’d say that attitude is 99 per cent.”

Across the University of Waikato’s undergraduate teaching programmes, more than 80 per cent of 2016 teaching graduates from Tauranga already have jobs, comprised of both full and part time education related roles.

Kevin will be speaking about his career progression at Friday’s Expo at the Windermere campus. The event is targeted at local secondary students interested in careers in education, as well as any members of the public considering a career change.

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