Tracie Pile

Making a difference where it matters most.

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Name: Tracie Pile
Tertiary Education: Bachelor of Matauranga Maori, Te Wananga o Raukawa
Previous role: Te Wananga o Raukawa Administrator
Current role: te reo Maori teacher at James Cook High School, Manurewa

Teach First NZ offers a unique pathway into secondary teaching for talented individuals who aspire to be future leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Teach First NZ programme is two years long, but the experience and skills participants gain last a lifetime. Teach First NZ participants teach in schools serving low-income communities while training towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. During the programme, participants receive a full-time salary and a scholarship for their qualification.

Tracie Pile is a born and bred South Aucklander. Having completed her Bachelor of Matauranga Maori at Te Wananga o Raukawa, she decided that the Teach First NZ programme was where she could make the biggest difference. Tracie is a part of the 2015 cohort and is currently teaching te reo Maori at James Cook High School, Manurewa.

Why did you choose to join the Teach First NZ programme?

When I found out about Teach First NZ, I got goose bumps. I had been searching for a meaningful career path for a long time, one which I could be proud of, where I could make a difference and contribute to the community. As someone who has grown up in a low income area, left school early and then returned to University as an adult, the vision and mission of Teach First NZ truly spoke to me.

What has been the most important thing you have learnt on your journey so far?

The most important thing that I have learnt is that it only takes one person with passion, motivation and unwavering belief to make a real difference. On my journey so far I have learnt from some of the best educators, the most influential leaders and some of the most resilient students to whom I am extremely grateful.

What has been the most surprising part about teaching?

I mistakenly entered the classroom thinking that my role in the classroom was to be the teacher and it was my students to be the learners. As I approach my third year in the classroom I have found that I’ve learnt far more from my tauira than I ever perceived. This has been one of the most valuable lessons in my teaching so far. Each student of mine teaches me about what I am doing right and what I can do better. That learning experience has been priceless.

What would you say to those who are thinking about joining the Teach First NZ programme?

The opportunity to work in the community with our rangatahi has been one of the biggest privileges of my life so far and to ensure all of our students are achieving their full potential we need more talented professionals and graduates choosing to make a difference in the classroom as well.

To find out more about the Teach First NZ programme visit