Andrea Walton’s role at SIT provides the perfect opportunity to combine her love of writing and teaching.
Southland born and bred, Andrea facilitates the New Zealand Certificate in Education Support and Care (Level 3) course and the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) (Level 3).
The role is the latest in a career that has always had a focus on education for all types of learners.
Originally gaining her Bachelor of Education and Primary Teaching at the Dunedin College of Education, Andrea taught in Southland for a year before heading to the United Kingdom to live and teach.
“I initially taught all around London at schools for children with additional needs before getting a job at an independent girls’ school in West London. Whilst teaching a diverse range of students, I realised I had a passion for helping those who struggled academically to access the curriculum and reach their full potential.”
At the end of 2013, Andrea returned to Invercargill to be closer to family. Married to Toby, the couple have two sons, Oliver (10) and Albion (5). Family time is spent visiting our family holiday home in Arrowtown, going on adventures with the boys, and bush walks.
“At the end of 2014, my oldest son was diagnosed with a very rare and complex genetic condition which causes a multitude of learning, physical, and sensory exceptionalities. It’s been a long journey - fraught with fear, grief, absolute joy, a load of learning, and excitement.
“My journey as a mum inspires me to use my passion for education and my love for people – and try to change education to suit the learner, not change the learner to suit the education system!
“I decided that I didn’t want to teach in a conventional classroom anymore - I needed to share my knowledge and passion with other educators! I did a writing course and started a business with my twin brother – Document Designers. We write documents and resources for educational organisations throughout New Zealand and LOVE what we do.
“Our resources are aimed at helping all types of people learn. And, if I can help one person with diverse learning needs achieve and succeed in something they want to do – either through educating them, or the people who work with them, then I know I am doing what I am supposed to.”
Andrea was approached by SIT to do some writing work, which led to facilitation, more writing work, and she now considers herself part of the furniture.
“I develop and write a range of courses for SIT and currently have some very exciting projects on the go. I absolutely love writing and running courses. It mixes my love for writing and teaching.
“It is so satisfying working through courses with people who end up finishing with qualifications, and sometimes even jobs!”
On top of a busy life as a working mum, Andrea has just become a certified Zumba instructor and will start taking classes next year.
“If I am not writing, I am dancing up a storm somewhere, reading historic fiction, or researching anything to do with learning diversity. And I also love to sing.”
Andrea says she has a real interest in inclusive education and breaking down barriers to support learners of diverse needs to achieve to their full potential.
“I love equipping people with the skills they need to teach others and to make education accessible for all our wonderful members of society!”