Carrie VanderZwaag – Secondary Gifted Learners Project

Kia ora tātou katoa.

Ko Carrie Vander Zwaag. Originally from Alaska – I love new experiences, adventure and travel, having lived and taught all over the planet (from urban LA to remote Amazon jungles). However, the beautiful moana, maunga and people of Taupō, Aotearoa, captured my wanderlust heart. 

The opportunity to ako (teach and learn) with incredible akōnga (students) and whānau of diverse backgrounds has enriched my life and enhanced what and how I teach. I’ve taught students from years 0-13 in private and public schools around the world from Reporoa to Los Angeles and Guyana (South America) to Pohnpei (Micronesia). One of the most unusual challenges faced was teaching computer technology class in a school without electricity!

My greatest passions in teaching are helping ākonga discover and grow who they are through authentic, challenging learning and whanaungatanga (relationships) both within and outside the school community. I also love hands-on science and technology, critical thinking (particularly problem-solving), creative thinking, communication (speaking, writing, listening), fitness/health and anything to do with nature/environmental sustainability.

 I’m excited to be a part of the VLN community to develop and support the secondary gifted programme and ako with a whole new group of leaners from across Aotearoa.

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui.