Surprise reunion at pōwhiri

30 January 2015
Michael Loretz and Carl Maskell
Fromer deputy principal Michael Loretz with former student Carl Maskell.

As a school student you tend to avoid your deputy principal in the corridor, so imagine finding him studying at your university.

That’s the experience Carl Maskell had when he started a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary) at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.

Carl volunteered to deliver a mihi (greeting) at a recent pōwhiri at the Faculty of Education's Tūtahi Tonu marae. When another male volunteer was required, his former deputy principal at Mt Roskill Grammar and fellow new student Michael Loretz stood up.

“I was looking around the room and I thought, there are no males here. I didn’t realise it was Mr Loretz,” Carl says.

Seeing his former deputy principal as a fellow student has been a bizarre experience for Carl, who hadn’t been in touch with Michael since he left Mt Roskill Grammar in 2010.

“It’s a bit interesting, you think they would still be where you left them and never leave.”

But Michael is still ‘Mr Loretz’ to Carl.

“I am probably going to keep calling him Mr Loretz for a while, it’s a bit uncomfortable.”

But thankfully there are no bad memories between the two. While Carl admits to spending “a fair bit of time” in the offices of the school’s five other deputy principals, he never needed a meeting with Mr Loretz.

“There were a lot more scary ones,” Carl says.

“He was a good boy,” jokes Michael.

Both have entered teaching via different paths, but they share a strong desire to work with children.

Michael has left a 21-year career teaching secondary school to complete a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education). The 43-year-old plans to open an early childhood centre with his wife Rebecca. The couple became attracted to the idea of working in ECE from seeing their nine children go through kindergarten.

“The environment’s so tactile and interesting that I can really imagine myself in that context.

“Everything’s fluid, there’s no sort of set idea of what you want to achieve apart from you want the kids to explore their world and make meaning of things and grow in literacies of all sorts. So I am looking forward to that more open, diverse environment.”

Carl initially completed a BCom at the University of Auckland. The 22-year old had planned to start a career in accounting for 15 years and then re-train as a secondary school teacher, but a job as a learning support teacher at Royal Oak Primary School changed his mind.

There he taught maths and physical education and assisted children with learning difficulties with their reading. It was his work helping a 9-year-old boy learn how to read that was his turning point.

“He came from a very difficult family, there was nothing in place around him to help him to achieve and we kind of got him going and it was awesome to see.”

A rule was developed that for every 25 books he read he was allowed to play 15 minutes of sport during one of his lessons, especially his favourite game, padder tennis.

Both Michael and Carl recommend a career in teaching, and say men should look at it as a positive career. Recent MBIE data shows the demand for ECE teachers is forecast to rise steadily over the next three to five years, and male teachers are in demand, given latest Census statistics show only three percent of teachers in the early childhood sector are men.

“Just do it, the number of people I’ve talked to that say they are kind of umming and ahing whether to do it or not. Just do it. It’s worth it. It is a career changer and a life changer but it’s enjoyable and well worth it,” Carl says.

Michael agrees:

“I don’t think men need to worry about being in education, I think they bring a perspective that is needed. Often children lack fathers in their lives, having men in education is not a substitute for that but certainly a masculine influence is something kids also need.”

“I have noticed that I am sort of a minority, but that doesn’t bother me, there’s a worthy job to do. It’s fun doing it and it’s rewarding, one of the most rewarding things people can do.”


Anna Kellett, Media Relations Adviser

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