How to Get a Montessori
Position in New Zealand
...from a private letter to me, via this
2 January 2001
> I am a Nursery Teacher in a ------- school in ---------------,
> (pre-school). I would love the opportunity to come to New Zealand
> teach, short or long term. I am Montessori trained at Nursery
> too. I have had two very good ------- reports over the
> years and am a creative, responsive and caring teacher. How
do I go
> about everything? I would love some help.
Thank you for your letter of inquiry about Montessori teaching in New
Zealand. I am the husband of a very active and experienced Montessori
teacher and trainer, Pauline Harter. I am also her email secretary
and web site manager, workshop 'assistant', chairperson of our primary
parents committee, and I often answer questions on the telephone from various
students and teachers. This is all done on a volunteer basis, mostly
because I am an ardent supporter of Montessori education.
New Zealand needs Montessori trained teachers! I can assure you
that a job is waiting here for you, somewhere, sometime. There may
be a position available right now, or in six months, or next year.
But how do you go about getting this teaching position?
The first important step is to go to our web site and print this page:
There are useful links for you to explore, and important information
that you need to actively follow through.
If you are a New Zealand or Australian resident, then job opportunities
are much easier for you. Otherwise you must endure the long process
of obtaining a work permit and residency here in New Zealand. If
you have never lived away from your own country, then let me warn you that
this process (for whatever country, for whatever job) can take a long time.
You will need lots of patience and persistence!
There is a "catch 22" that most government departments have. You
need to be aware of this! Basically, you cannot get a work permit
and residency unless you have a job, and you cannot get a job unless you
have a work permit and residency. Confused and surprised? Well, there
is a way around this.
The best thing for you to do is to come over to New Zealand on a tourist
visa, for at least two weeks. Visit as many Montessori schools as
possible. You will find various web sites of schools (see the MANZ link
on our site): set up appointments prior to your arrival in NZ, and just
say that you want to observe Montessori teaching. In other words, you will
be 'Networking'. Within a short time you will have some very useful contacts,
which will lead to a job placement.
If you are not willing to invest in paying for a NZ trip, then at least
use your telephone. After speaking to a minimum of four schools-teachers,
you will have a much better idea of job opportunities here. Remember to
ask for other people who may be able to help you, and be prepared to fax
your CV. When you are on the phone, don't be in a rush. It is no
longer so expensive to phone internationally. If you are too cheap
to do this (it will cost less than a good coat or dress) then you may as
well give up now and stay where you are. Coming to NZ is going to
cost a lot of money, but the rewards of living in our corner of paradise
will be worth it. :-)
Be sure to ring at an appropriate time.
For schools, the best time would be 7.45 - 8.05 AM, or 3.30 - 4.00
Be prepared to make several phone calls to the same school, in order
to 'catch' the principal or head teacher at the right time.
TIME DIFFERENCES: New Zealand is +or-1200 from GMT.
10 PM EST USA time = 3 PM NZ time (both standard, not
2 PM EST USA time = 7 AM NZ time (we are a
day ahead also)
To see the current time in NZ (or anywhere in the world), surf over
Also be aware of our school holiday periods.
See the link on our site to the NZ Ministry of Education.
Back to the "Catch 22". When you find a school that is interested
in employing you, they will give you a letter to submit to the NZ Department
of Immigration. Simple. But I left out one important item.
Your overseas qualifications will need to be approved by NZQA (again, see
our site). This can take from 3 to 6 months. Note: if you want
to teach at primary level (ages 6 and over; not preschool) then you will
need to have a university degree -or equivalent- in primary education.
Will a school employ you with only a telephone interview? Maybe. Maybe
not. If you cannot be present for a face-to-face interview, my advice
is for you to send a video tape of your teaching. There is also Internet
video conferencing. If you are from a non-English speaking country (and
English is your second language), I personally would doubt that any school
would offer you a job based on your CV alone. Include *several*
photos with your CV, especially in a classroom setting.
How patient are you? If you want a job "now" or next month, then
this is unrealistic. Getting a job in another country will take TIME.
If your time frame is 6 months or a year, then this is more realistic.
But there are exceptions. Sometimes schools desparately need to fill
a vacancy; even so, your qualifications will need to be approved (it could
be fast-tracked by a persistent principal).
I hope that this information has been of help to you. If you would
like more assistance, you may telephone me. But first of all you
must follow through on the advice given on our web page. Go to the links
there. Place an advert in the MANZ newsletter and get your qualifications
accepted by NZQA. If you do this then you will almost certainly get
a job here.
A final word of advice. Snail mail does not get good results. I highly
recommend that you use the telephone to contact various government departments
and schools. Also use a fax. Email is also possible, but do
NOT rely on this. Always follow up telephone calls with a fax, email or
snail mail letter. This means that you must get the names and addresses
of the people you are speaking with.
New Zealand is a wonderful place to live, and there is no better education
than Montessori, and Montessori in NZ is very much 'alive and well', with
some exceptional teachers and many enthusiastic parents. I wish you
luck with your efforts to come here.
...from another letter to me, via this web site....
15 November, 2000
Masterton, New Zealand
<< I would like to hear from you regarding any interest you
might have in recruiting members of this vibrant and enthusiastic
group of --------- for
your school in the coming academic year/term. They are open to any
suggestions regarding employment either as an intern or as a member
your core teaching staff.>>
You will be interested to know that two hours after I received your
email, I read parts of your letter to a public meeting that we had
our new Montessori Primary Class. We had 40 people attending,
parents. The reason that I chose to read your letter was to show
that Montessori was international and professional with high educational
standards. Also, I noted that we could always find a teacher
for our class
from ------------ !
Apologies for this late reply. There much information that I have
you, with regard to your teachers obtaining jobs here in NZ.
I will do this in
brief, but feel free to telephone me for further details.
The good news is that any qualified Montessori pre-school or primary
teacher will have no problems finding a job in New Zealand !
We have a
shortage of qualified teachers.
Please note that primary teachers must get their qualifications approved
the NZQA - the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This means
they will have to get 'teacher registration', and this costs $200 NZ
(approx. $90 USD).
Once this is obtained, and once a school accepts the application of
(--------------) teacher, then they will have to apply for a work visa.
All of this
information can be found on NZ government web sites.
In order to teach at primary or secondary level, a teacher needs to
university qualifications, or the equivalent from a respected and recognized
tertiary institution. There are only a few Montessori primary
classes in NZ,
but the number is increasing. Most positions are found in pre-schools.
The best thing is for your teachers to come here to NZ on a visitor's
As you can imagine, it is difficult for a school to accept a teacher
first interviewing them in person. I know that the cost of an air ticket
be prohibitive for some of your teachers, but if their English (accent)
acceptable, and if they also have good teacher skills and a good
personality, it would be guaranteed that they could find a job.
that the same is true in Australia.
An alternative to coming to NZ would be to send a video of the teacher,
including an interview and teaching methods. This should be done
professionally. In my opinion it would be difficult for a ---------
other non-English speaking countries / Eastern / Asian) teacher to
appointed without the NZ principal and school board actually seeing
speaking with the teacher first.
My wife is Pauline Harter, who is on the NZ national executive committee
Montessori, MANZ. She has many years of Montessori teaching and
tutoring experience here in NZ and overseas. Please refer to her web
(below). I am basing the information that I am giving you from
involvement. Pauline would be happy to answer your questions by
It would be very advantageous for you to place an advertisement in MANZ
newsletter - to promote the availability of your teachers. See
site for the URL, or use a Search Engine to find their web site.
I also recommend that you get in contact with MCI in London - they have
(to my knowledge) the best international advertisements for teaching
positions, plus they may be able to advertise that your teachers are