Day in the Life series: Maiana McCurdy

The reality of teaching extends far beyond 9am-3pm, and for this kaiako in Whangaparāoa looking after our tamariki with complex needs, the teaching & nurturing happens beyond the classroom. This series will highlight the incredible mahi done by our NZEI Te Riu Roa members.

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Mana Kaiako!! Happy teachers’ day!! 

We’re celebrating Teachers’ Day here in Aotearoa by kicking off a new series profiling our members, starting with teachers first.  

‘A Day in the Life’ will highlight the incredible mahi done by our NZEI Te Riu Roa members. It will show the reality of our educators who care for the tamariki of Aotearoa, and celebrate all the parts that make us a diverse and inspiring bunch!   

If you would like to see a colleague or yourself in this series, please get in touch with us at  or fill out this form!  

Q1: Tell us about yourself! 

Maiana McCurdy (she/her, Ngāti Maniapoto) 

I have 3 kids of my own, a 32-year-old stepson, and 19 and 8-year-old sons. I have been teaching for about 23 years and have been at my current kura for longer than I care to admit! 

I currently have a non-classroom-based role which I absolutely love. I look after some amazing ORS-funded students, I am a member of our Culturally Responsive Pedagogy team, I help with our Kapa Haka rōpū as well as our Pasifika rōpū, Hibiscus Tuakana, and I often get called into classrooms to do release and when my colleagues are unwell. I love the variety I have in my current job and the challenges that come with working with tamariki with complex needs. 

Q2: Who was your favourite teacher or biggest mentor/supporter growing up? 

My whānau are my biggest cheerleaders. They have always supported me no matter what I do and are there to pick me up if I fall over. I am very grateful to have them in my corner. 

Q3: What do teachers do all day? 

I’m lucky enough to work at a kura that is 5 minutes away from home, so my day starts a bit later than a lot of other teachers. I always wake up and check my emails. I try not to, but I can’t help myself. I usually end up arguing with my youngest son about getting ready for school, curse the fact I’m running late (again) and run out the door promising myself I won’t run late again tomorrow. My job is extremely varied and never looks the same from day to day. It’s always filled up with meetings, class visits, duties, planning, and professional discussions. The bell goes at 3pm, but my workday is never finished then. If I don’t have any meetings, I take work home to get it done after I have finished battling the youngest child with his homework. The paperwork in this job is never finished and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.  

In my spare time, I love walking. I live close to several beautiful beaches and enjoy walking along them while listening to a good podcast. 

Q4: People think my job is…  

is playing with kids between the hours of 9am and 3pm, and having 12 weeks of holidays throughout the year. I have also had people tell me that I’m lucky we get so many breaks during the day. According to one of my brothers, teachers are teaching for the holidays and the money (I have to stop myself from snapping sometimes!!).  

The reality of teaching is meetings before and after school, planning when the meetings have finished and the kids are in bed, tossing and turning at night worrying about that child who hasn’t been at school for the last week, waking up at 2am to scribble down an amazing idea you have to teach a concept to a child that is struggling, working through your lunch and morning tea breaks, duties, report writing, meetings with parents, school camps and trips (nobody outside of education will ever appreciate a school camp!!!), paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork, fighting for support from learning support workers that are already stretched too thin and teaching our precious tamariki to be the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be. 

Q:5 The favourite part of my day is… 

My favourite part of the day is when everyone else in my house has gone to bed and I feel like I have the house to myself. Teaching is incredibly rewarding but it is also draining, and I appreciate the solitude I have at the end of the night. 

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