Why we have our teaching assistants programme

All of our internal development programmes (NOIZ, Internship, Teaching Assistants) have been designed with two outcomes in mind:

  1. As we have a strong sense of who we are and how want operate, it is very important that those in employment and leadership roles understand and align with this.  The best way to do this is to develop future leadership from within the school.  Those who have experienced the way our kaupapa is outworked are best placed to understand what we are looking to achieve and why certain things are important.
  2. It is really important to us that we provide opportunities for our students to learn more than dance moves.  That we can also help them develop into people who are well placed to grow into the best version of themselves and go on to be great community builders themselves.

The teaching assistant programme is intended as a preparatory programme for our internship programme, offering opportunities for young people who show obvious leadership potential but who are not yet old enough, or are otherwise not yet ready, for the internship programme itself.  It also benefits Zion by providing additional resource for tasks that require minimal skill, but are still really important to building relationships and keeping processes going.

In most cases, students who have been teaching assistants successfully progress to the internship programme, but this is neither compulsory nor guaranteed.  However, as with internship, being part of this programme will ensure that participants finish the year with a range of new skills, experiences and growth that will benefit them in their future.

While it is true that teaching assistants provide valuable resources to assist in the running of Zion, it is important to understand that the programme is not about not the school simply sourcing “free labour”.  In fact, significant cost in time, heart, effort and $ is proactively invested into participants during their year in the programme.  We take very seriously our opportunity to invest in their future while they serve the school; by working in partnership we create an awesome win-win.

Expectations of being on the Zion team

We have chosen you as a teaching assistant because we see something special and unique in you. We believe in you, your dance ability and your leadership potential.  However, we have some key expectations:

  • Consider your acceptance properly.

Development programme roles are hard work (for you and for us) and should not be entered into lightly.  If you accept, please understand that others will be relying on you and you will need to properly commit your time and energy to it so we both receive benefit for our investment.

  • Use your initiative.

If you see something that needs to be done no matter how big or small (whether it be noticing unusual or dangerous behaviour in someone or rubbish on the ground), please do something about it or take it to someone that can.

  • Be a positive role model.

Remember how it felt when you had (or still have) someone that you look up to – be worthy of that.  This means to giving everything your best shot and honouring the opportunity that you have to invest in people.  Outwork positive behaviours for others to copy – such as watching your language, shutting down gossip, being kind, looking after yourself and others.

As a team member there is a higher expectation of you than there has been of you as a student.  You are a representative of the heart and integrity of Zion and its foundation values.  There is also a greater visibility of your behaviour and attitude. This means that students, parents, teachers and others take note of what you do and say and that manner in which you do them.  Be very mindful of your position as a role model to others – whether you are carrying out your duties or in a class as a student.

  • Be open and honest.

Zion and Northgate management are all here to support you.  If things aren’t feeling right, whether it is dance related or relational, don’t shut yourself off with it.  Please take those opportunities to share any concerns before things become too hard to manage.

  • Be involved as much as you can be.

While being part of this team is a lot of fun, it is also about hard work.  As we put time and effort into helping to develop your leadership and workplace skills, please remember that we also need your help to continue other projects.

  • Be respectful of our faith components

It is important to note that Zion is a faith-based organization with core people who loves God.  This is an integral part of the organisation’s DNA and our values and guidelines reflect our desire to outwork the love of Jesus by investing in people and community.  Although we don’t preach or proselytise, our faith foundation is visible in many components of Zion life – e.g. prayer before important events, serving lunch at church once a month.  While we do not have any requirement that staff, students, or anyone who engages with us shares our Christian faith, it is important that you recognise and respect that it is a key part of who we are and you are comfortable in a Christian environment, respecting the resulting values and expectations.

Perks of being a teaching assistant

  • You get to work with a great team of interns, teachers, management and other supporters! They are all committed to investing in your future and awesome people to spend time with.
  • You will not be charged to attend any Zion workshops held throughout the year. Workshops will include a wide range of skills that will be useful to you in your future, as well as dance technique.
  • You will receive free, expert tuition in a variety of dance, work and life skills and end up with hard copies of a number of valuable training resources
  • We will actively seek to know you and find opportunities for development that fit your unique personality, gifts and goals
  • You will be included in staff meetings and celebrations unless we have a specific topic that is inappropriate to involve you with.
  • You will experience the satisfaction of paying it forward – investing in others while receiving investment in you
  • You can purchase Zion merchandise at cost price
  • We will provide you with a reference/ testimonial that you can include with your CV
  • We’ll also celebrate your birthday (let us know if you don’t like chocolate!)