There is just nothing like coming home
Teaching in South Korea was an exciting experience for Joanne Burch, but there’s nothing quite like coming home.
The mother of two has taken up her first principal job in New Zealand at Whakamaru School after returning from a two-year stint in South Korea where she was the senior principal of two kindergartens and one prep school.
She said she is looking forward to working with the New Zealand education system again, one that fully embraces holistic learning.
‘‘Their [South Korea’s] education system is very different. Education is very important to parents and they feel that by getting the best education academically their children will go on to get the best jobs.
‘‘Even 3-year-olds will have extra lessons and Saturday classes.’’
She said in New Zealand parents understand it is more about a balanced education.
Before Burch ventured off overseas she said she had never taken on a role as principal. ‘‘ That whet my appetite and I when I came back I thought I could use those skills I’d developed as well as those during my time as an RTLB.’’
Burch, who lives in Taupo, said the concept of Whakamaru was appealing because she had worked with teachers there during her years as an RTLB.
‘‘I think it’s a really nice way for me to step back into New Zealand into a lovely, already well-developed rural school.’’
Her vision for the school, which has about 80 pupils and four teachers, is to build on the community relationship.
This year is an exciting one for Whakamaru School which will be embarking on its third year on the Accelerated Literacy Learning programme, which brought huge gains in writing last year, Burch said.
It has also been accepted into the Te Reo Maori in English Medium Schools programme and the Information Communication Technology programme.
Both are partially funded by the ministry. ‘‘There’s a lot of work for the staff, but they’re really passionate about it.’’
Kiwi welcome: Whakamaru School’s new principal Joanne Burch is welcomed by the eager students.