Careers in education: Northcote CoL Across School Leader David Taylor

12 October 2017
David Taylor
David Taylor

We continue from our previous article “A career in education – University of Auckland teaching graduates tell their stories.”

With the ongoing debate about education as a career path, this week we profile UoA graduate and Across School Leader for the Northcote Community of Learning David Taylor about where his career in the education sector has taken him.


David Taylor: Northcote CoL Across School Leader  

Graduated University of Auckland: 2005

Position: Northcote Community of Learning/Kahui Ako Across School Leader

Salary: $94,000 - $102,000.

After graduating from the University of Auckland in 2005 David has worked steadfastly with Northcote College for the past 12 years, becoming deeply involved in the upper-Auckland teaching environment. Ironically though, David says teaching is a career that he effectively backed himself into.

“I always thought that teaching was a really important job,” David says, “But I didn’t really do anything about it until one day as I was washing the dishes I suddenly thought that if it was so important then I should be doing it.”

Since graduating David has dived headfirst into education as an English teacher, becoming assistant head of English at Northcote College, serving as acting head of department, becoming the Auckland representative for the NZ Association of Teachers of English, and getting involved in designing and running several research-driven programmes aimed at raising academic outcomes.

“I knew education was important, but it also turned out to be much more interesting than I expected it to be. Schools are very dynamic places with a lot going on and a lot of it is very positive. It’s about working with incredible people who care about the world and want to contribute and that’s a special thing to be part of.”

Over the past 12 years he has returned to university, completing a Postgraduate Diploma followed by a Masters in Educational Leadership where he researched ways of empowering parents to help improve their children’s reading habits.

He has also gone on to apply his research findings to a project supported by the Teacher-led Innovation Fund, where he worked on applying the results of his research across three schools in Auckland. The project involved recognising the skills and expertise of teachers, whānau and families and working out a collective strategy to raise student achievement under those circumstances.

“We’ve been really blown away by what can be achieved when you can get a consistent message both at home and at school. The parents are really grateful, everyone feels good and students are doing great.”

Most recently he has taken on an Across School Leader role with the Northcote Community of Learning, combining everything he come to love in education. The role is split between time in class with his students and time spent researching ways to make positive change across the wider community of schools in the area.

“Roles like this are a great opportunity to work with like-minded people, using our experiences in educational research and take the time and understand the complexities of the communities and the beliefs and values of our teachers, students and families to make real change.”

By taking on the extra responsibilities involved in school and subject leadership, combined with his role with the Northcote Community of Learning, David’s earns up to $102,000 a year, which he says was not at all what he had expected going in to the career.

He advises people considering teaching that it’s definitely a worthwhile career path, whether they are fresh out of school or coming to it from a different career.

“It’s a really incredible job. Don’t be put off by people’s perceptions about what a teacher does.”