Taryn Woodham graduated as a teacher more than 12 years ago, but life took her in other directions. It wasn’t until two years ago that she “came a full circle” and began working as a primary school teacher in Christchurch.

“I made the plunge to follow my dream of getting back into teaching when my marriage fell apart and I eventually found the strength to start looking after myself again. It was something I needed rather than looking after everybody else, even though it involved moving countries back to New Zealand from Australia,” she said.

Taryn grew up in Christchurch, attending Christchurch Girls’ High School before going on to Teachers’ College.

Since reintroducing herself to teaching, she has embraced the modern classroom. She works in an innovative open learning environment teaching around 90 year 3 and 4 students with three other teachers and a teacher aide. The programme of learning is “obviously very literacy and numeracy heavy” due to the demands of National Standards, and they incorporate plenty of collaborative and digital learning tools.

“What motivates me is changing teaching and learning to shape today’s children into 21st century citizens who are capable and have the skills to succeed,” says Taryn.

Her current passion is bringing the ‘Maker Movement’ to her school and creating innovators rather than consumers. She has her sights set on gaining her Masters in Applied Practice in collaborative and digital technologies. She is keen to continue her practice of te reo as well.

Taryn, aged 39, firmly believes it takes a village to raise a child. She describes her own childhood in Christchurch as “awesome” with loving parents and three younger sisters.

“My dad was always my mentor because he is such a driven, hard worker, yet charismatic on his down time. However as I have got older and have raised my own family, I find my mother’s maternal, calm, balanced way of life is now something I try to live up to.”

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