2 September 2019
American Andrew Bloomfield Pursues His Calling at Bethlehem Tertiary Institution
For American Andrew Bloomfield, working with youth has been a common thread throughout his life. Growing up, his parents taught a Sunday school class at the family’s church and from an early age he discovered that he loved helping younger kids thrive.
This passion stayed with him as he coached basketball in high school, helped with his church’s youth group and even volunteered with children during a year-long Mission trip to Bolivia.
“Having a positive impact on the youth of the world is basically the slogan on my CV.” – Andrew
After a meandering journey that saw him live in South Korea for five years, Andrew decided to formalise a career in education by pursuing a teaching degree. Along with his Australian wife Sarah, Andrew now lives in Tauranga where he is half-way through his studies to become a physical education (P.E.) teacher at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute.
Growing up in America
Andrew grew up in Los Angeles in a close-knit family of four. His mum was interpreter for the deaf while his dad worked as a construction coordinator for Universal Studios. He even made the frame for Jaws before leaving the film industry to become a cop with CHiPs, the California Highway Patrol.
Andrew’s strongest memories of growing up in L.A. are of beautiful weather, the melting pot of cultures present in California and American-style BBQs complete with hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken wings.
International Travel and a Lifechanging Meeting
After completing a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology, Andrew travelled to South Korea where he spent five years teaching ESL and science to young children. While on holiday in Australia during a short teaching break, Andrew had a chance meeting with an Australian woman at a church he was visiting.
“I met Sarah on my second last day in Australia and she knocked my socks off!”
The pair knew they had something special and pursued a long-distance relationship for a year before Andrew moved to Australia. In December 2018 the two got married.
Becoming a Physical Education Teacher
Andrew believes that teens have so much negativity thrown at them that he likes to help bring positivity to their lives, helping them find their light and encouraging them to be their best selves.
“Teaching is such a great medium to make a positive impact and P.E. is a unique subject because it’s really relational. You get to know students on a really personal level.”
With loads of teaching experience under his belt it was time to pursue a teaching qualification, so Andrew and his new wife – also a teacher – started looking into programmes in Australia and New Zealand.
“Bethlehem Tertiary Institute appealed for its quality accredited education, affordable cost for international students and relatively short programme length. The fact that it is a Christian education institution is a bonus.”
Studying Teaching at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute
Andrew started Bethlehem Tertiary Institute’s intensive ten-month Diploma in Secondary Education in February 2019 and is set to graduate in November. His primary teaching subjects are health and physical education, with science as his secondary subject. While Andrew studies, Sarah spends her days relief teaching at Bethlehem College and Otumoetai Intermediate School.
Andrew describes the diploma as a combination of self-directed independent study, on-location intensives and professional practical experience. Out of the 25 students currently studying in the programme, five of them are international students.
“Bethlehem Tertiary Institution really focuses on teaching out of who you are. There is a lot of self-reflection. The school does a great job of helping us formalise our identities and apply this to our teaching.”
Professional Practical Experience at Bethlehem College and Tauranga Boys' College
As a P.E. teacher in the making, Andrew spent his first professional practical experience in the P.E. department at Bethlehem College. Under the mentorship of department head Andy Bartrum, Andrew first put his formal teaching education to practical use.
“The biggest takeaway was to find my own teaching style. At first, I was trying to emulate Andy – who is an excellent teacher – but it was only once I discovered my own style that I started to feel a lot more comfortable.”
He also coached the Junior A girl's basketball team, a role he maintained for two weeks after his placement at the school ended. The five-week experience at Bethlehem College was filled with lessons and learning, and in late August Andrew will get to building upon those lessons at his next placement, Tauranga Boys’ College.
“There’s some things I want to bring to the classroom that that I didn’t do in my first placement. I’d like to get my head around NCEA and how best to assess the students. I’d also like to incorporate Te Reo into the classroom more.”
A Global Teacher
His life and teaching experiences around the world have shaped Andrew both as a person and a teacher.
“One unique thing I do as a P.E. teacher is teach an international games unit – I teach my students different games and sports from various places around the world. I love bringing culture to sport.”
This begs the question…how does an American P.E. teacher approach teaching cricket to Kiwi kids?
“I love cricket! I get really protective of it now when people say, ‘I don’t understand it’. It’s really not that complicated; it’s a wonderful game!”
Advice for International Students
“If you’re considering coming to Tauranga, do it as soon as possible.
You will be well supported and looked-after here. Sometimes in America, it can be hard, but here people welcome you, support you, and are interested in your culture.
Make the best of wherever you’re at and dive into the culture. Also, be aware – New Zealand is a lot bigger than it looks on a map! There's a lot to see and explore.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STUDYING OR HOSTING IN TAURANGA?
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Address: Private Bag 13057, Tauranga 3141, New Zealand