Traveling teacher takes on tourism at Nayland


At Nayland College, we have been very fortunate to have a great group of new teachers join our whanau this year. Over the coming months, we will be running profiles of our new staff so you can get to know them better. This week, we say hello to a new addition to our Social Sciences department, the very well-traveled Amanda Kirkham.

Where did you grow up?

I Grew up in Waitakere, Auckland – my parents are from London, England. 

Which subjects do you teach?

At Nayland College, I teach Junior Social Studies and Year 12 Travel and Tourism.

What are your hobbies?

My hobby is travelling and trekking. I took one and a half years off to go backpacking around Taiwan, Hong Kong, Nepal, England, Turkey, Egypt and India.

 In India, my partner and I did a six-month motorcycle journey on our Royal Enfield Thunderbird from the north of India to the south. At my school in Auckland I participated in a one-month teacher exchange to Sacre Coeur Wein in Austria – I got to travel around Austria and Hungary during January 2019. 

The only way to travel! Amanda toured around India on her Thunderbird motorbike. — Supplied

I lived overseas for six years and worked in two international schools in India, one in Bangalore and one in Hyderabad. During this time I got to travel a lot more – including a 26 day trek in Nepal in the Upper and Lower Dolpo regions. We got close to the border of Tibet and had an expedition team with 5 donkeys to carry our things.  I have also done the Head-hunters Trail in Borneo where I got covered in leeches.

 In New Zealand I have enjoyed doing the Travers Sabine Circuit in Nelson, the Waikaremoana Great Walk, Tongariro and Taranaki circuit and Hillary Trail in Auckland.

Amanda Kirkham has a thirst for adventure — Supplied

Describe yourself with three words:

Determined, Creative and Imaginative.

What did you do for a living before you became a teacher at Nayland College?

I have been a teacher since I left university. I worked in Pak n Save in West Auckland for a while .

What are your previous experiences in teaching?

This is now my 13th year of teaching and I have worked in a huge variety of schools. At my previous school in Auckland, I was the Dean of International students and the Specialist Classroom Teacher. I taught Years 7 – 13 Social Studies, Geography, Scholarship Geography and Travel and Tourism. 

At my IB international school in India, I was the Humanities Coordinator and the Service-Learning Coordinator for Kindergarten to Grade 12 as well as a Humanities teacher (Junior humanities and IGCSE Geography). I have also taught Year 3 Social Studies which was fun. I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal with a local family and for 6 months I did volunteer teaching at a local school and in a children’s home.


I recently completed my Master’s in Education through the University of Auckland, researching the topic of Global Citizenship Education in Auckland secondary schools. 

What makes you passionate about being a teacher?

Working with young people. I feel excited about the experiences that they can have in the future. I love geography and travelling so I get to talk about this every day in my job. I believe that schools are a force for social equality and that teachers can guide young people to harness opportunities to have a successful future. I want my students to question everything and not to accept ‘how things are’ in society. I want them to have the knowledge and empathy to make change in the world.

As a Tourism Teacher ,is there any country you would really like to travel to?

I would love to travel to Afghanistan! 


By Student Journalist Matthias Moerk