Sad farewell for long-standing ELPNZ staff member

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Dianne McClay shares her experience with ELPNZ spanning 17 years – she will be sorely missed!

“My journey with English Language Partners began in 2001 when I joined as a volunteer tutor.

My husband and I had just decided to shut down the poultry farm that we have farmed for 8 years. When I looked back on those years of delivering eggs and before that primary teaching, I decided to combine the things that I enjoyed the most from these two occupations: Interacting with new migrants and teaching someone to read.

My first learner was a young Vietnamese with no English followed by a pre-literate Somali woman.

At the same time as volunteering, I also did some private teaching of Korean learners.

I enjoyed this so much that I decided to go to WINTEC to get some qualifications as an ESOL teacher.

I became a teacher-aide position for 2 years at Fairfield College while I studied and added to my practical experience.

It was around this time that I was invited to help co-teach in a literacy class. All participants were from Iraq. Two years later I joined the literacy team at Deanwell, teaching the lower level Cambodian class.

I joined the Waikato English Language Partners office team in 2005 when Jenny Field took long term leave to go to East Timor on a VSA assignment and I have been here ever since. (This was the same time that ESOL Home Tutors moved to the Migrant Centre from Knox Street).

I feel so privileged to have worked in the ELP office, meeting so many people from all over the world and with colleagues who share the same heart for our new refugees and migrants. We all want our new New Zealanders to settle well and realise their dreams and aspirations.

I am very thankful for all the wonderful people… colleagues, volunteers, teachers, learners, and sector people who have inputted into my life. There has never been a day when I didn’t want to come to work.

My colleague, Debora Potgieter is taking over my role as Volunteer Coordinator. I have full confidence that she will do a fantastic job. I wish you every success Debora.

Thank you ELP for a wonderful chapter in my life.

All the best for the future.

– Dianne McClay

Thanks so much for your passion and dedication Dianne – we wish you all the best for your adventures ahead!

To start YOUR journey volunteering as an ESOL home tutor, find your nearest centre and get in touch!


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