In an age where most of us will experience three or more careers before finding our niche, MOTAT’s newest Educator was born to the role.
Like most teenagers, Melissa Hodson had no idea what she wanted to do when she left school but she was sure that following in the footsteps of her mother and two sisters who work in education, was not her destiny.
However internationally registered psychologist, Dr Joanna Patching says career choice comes more intrinsically than we may think, with teacher families being a prime example.
“Many of us aren’t emotionally mature enough when we leave school for the career that we are destined for and so find ourselves dabbling in three or more careers before finally finding the best fit. Ironically, after rejecting our parents lifestyles and values as teenagers we often come back to mirror them and their career choices in our 20’s and 30’s.
“Teaching is one of those professions that requires high levels of empathy. This trait is widely recognised as coming from ‘nurture’ rather than ‘nature’ so it makes sense that some families breed teachers and others don’t,” says Dr Patching.
Twenty-seven year old Melissa is the newest ‘MOTAT Educator,’ joining a four person team which delivers LEOTC programmes to 25,000 New Zealand school children annually. Melissa spends her days helping children explore the wonders of MOTAT, New Zealand’s largest transport, technological and social history museum.
“I’m just like a kid in a candy shop and I get paid for it,” says an enthusiastic Ms Hodson.
“Whether I’m helping kids discover how technology and transport have impacted on our lives or sharing stories about our fascinating collections it is always great fun!”
Early on, an interest in art led Melissa to a degree at Whitecliffe Arts College in Auckland, specialising in graphic design. Her design skill set led her to a stint working in the kids’ area at Auckland Museum and it was there that she started to rethink her vocational direction and focus on working as an educator.
“My mum was not at all surprised, but I needed to discover for myself that working with children to help educate them about social history was my thing,” says Melissa who uses her graphic design and art skills everyday in her new role.
MOTAT’s Education Manager, Paul Swift says that more than anything, taking on the role of a MOTAT Educator requires enthusiasm and passion for helping kids.
“MOTAT seems to attract people with a huge variety of life skills and that diversity really benefits our visitors. Melissa knows how to make the experience interactive and visual, bringing history to life for our young visitors,” says Mr Swift.
“As Educators we also help the events team develop ideas for the fun events at MOTAT, identifying the educational outcomes for our visitors. With a myriad of fantastic events always on the go at MOTAT such as Military Weekend and our inaugural Fire and Rescue day this month, there’s always something to keep us busy!”
Melissa’s advice to school leavers grappling with their career options, “Never say never.
Sometimes your parents’ advice isn’t so foolish after all.”