STRATFORD teenager Becky Sheed has wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl, and she’s wasted no time getting started.
At 17, she’s nearly completed the first year of an extra-mural degree in early childhood teaching, fitting study into her very full life.
Becky’s parents, John and Corrina Sheed, lead Stratford’s Mountainview Vineyard Church, and she and her brother, Josh, are both involved with various church activities, including a weekly youth group and the church’s music team.
Having already completed high school by correspondence, Becky is adept at independent study.
“Study just has to fit into my life, I don’t make it my life,” she says.
She works two mornings a week at Gr8 Kidz day-care centre, and is on deck five days a week at Kidz.com out-of-school-care (OSCAR) programme, both run by the church.
Wednesday mornings are spent at Music 4 Kids, weekly music and movement sessions at the War Memorial hall.
Becky’s also been teaching Sunday school since she was 10 – one Sunday the regular teacher was absent, so she took over.
“Since I was 12, I’ve never had a term off from it. I do Music 4 kids, teach dance classes, baby-sit and fill gaps wherever I’m needed,” she says. “Through everything we do, I’m in contact with about 260 kids a week.”
“It’s just fun. You get to build relationships that actually mean something; it’s all about the little things with kids.
The OSCAR service started in term two of 2009, while Becky was still doing year 12.
“I’d already decided to go into teaching at that point. After a term of that, I started doing the OSCAR certificate, which is a level four certificate through the Open Polytechnic.
“Through the OSCAR certificate, they sent me the information about the degree course by mistake. I shouldn’t be able to be studying it yet, because I’m not 18,” she says. “Massey wouldn’t take me because I wasn’t 18, and the Open Polytechnic wouldn’t either, but you can do a diploma, so I started that, and then the Open Polytechnic degree came out, and I transferred to that. Because I was already enrolled in the diploma I was eligible without having to do year 13. To me it (seventh form) would have been a fill-in year that I didn’t want to do because nothing in it was child-related and nothing related to my life.”
Becky already had enough NCEA credits for university, and is enjoying the degree study.
“It’s going great. The only practical component this year was a five-week placement at Rainbow, and I’ve done that, the rest is all theory. My lowest mark so far was a B-plus, all the rest have been As.”
Becky says she chose to study long distance because she didn’t want to leave Stratford.
“I don’t want to leave the kids I’ve made relationships with. I’ve got a whole list of things I’ve got to do for a group of kids at the moment and if I went off and did something else, I’d be leaving them out on a limb.”