Gail Thomson is a primary trained teacher who works with year 7 and 8 children. She has taught in differing roles at range of schools: as a senior teacher in an Intermediate, at a small two-teacher country school, as a principal, and as associate principal of full primary’s in the Auckland region. Even though she has taught all age groups of children, her passion is with the intermediate age group of children, which is where most of her 30 years of teaching has been with.
She was hosted for her Teacher Fellowship by Associate Professor Dianne Brunton – Director of the Ecology and Conservation Group at Massey University. Gail developed a sound understanding of ecological research, both in the field and laboratory. She worked with scientific staff and postgraduate students involved in research projects, and was able to collect, monitor and analyse data as well as use state of the art technology which supported findings.
Gail learned many new things and had superb opportunities to work with postgraduates in the field. She worked with little penguins on Tiritiri Matangi which was a very inspirational and a rewarding experience. Being part of the research team Gail made several trips to the island to carry out specific tests which included measurements, blood taking and banding of penguins. She was fortunate to be part of the laboratory testing and analysis of the samples retrieved from the field. It was both an eventful and invigorating time for Gail, working in such an ecologically enriched environment.
Gail was fortunate to be given to opportunity to formulate and analyse data that was gathered. She was taught to always refer to past results and published findings to find similarities and differences. By using internet sites to ascertain prey trends Gail showed a definite link between high amounts of fish stock present and significant times when little penguins needed large food supplies, for example, when feeding chicks or feeding to prepare for the moult. She now has a realisation of how long it can take to gather and analyse scientific data.
Gail spent part of her time working in the laboratory and the other analysing trends about little penguins. Her time at Massey University was amazing. Gail has learned an enormous amount which she will use to enhance and enrich her classroom programme.