Teaching maths and statistics is a "deeply satisfying" job for Mike Shadbolt.

"You can get a Year 9 student in that's struggling with basic mathematics, but when you see them starting to get it, the brightness comes back into their eyes."

His Year 13 Otumoetai College statistics students sit in the class, each at their desktop computer. The students are analysing figures from a recent political poll that claims National is steaming ahead of Labour.

The class looks into the method of obtaining the data, the number of people polled, the margin of error and the way the data is presented to discover what the poll actually shows.


A sample of 1000 voters was used to create the data but as the class discovers it was gathered by calling landlines, which many people no longer have.

Another point to consider was of the 1000 people polled, only 777 answered the question, meaning 223 had not decided how to vote or did not want to answer the question.

The students are more than happy to raise their hand while Mr Shadbolt is talking and offer an opinion or ask a question.

Mr Shadbolt said the main thing he enjoyed about teaching was seeing students reach their potential: "I know it's cliche but seeing them grow and seeing them learn and have success, then seeing them do well in life once they've left school.

"Helping them achieve their dreams of being doctors and lawyers or whatever they want to do. It's a real kick."

Mr Shadbolt moved to teaching after sampling a number of careers including working at Oracle in Wellington, going into radio broadcasting and stand-up comedy.

He has been at the college for eight years. It was his first teaching job.

He came to the college for placement while studying then was encouraged to apply for a job, which he landed.

"It's a hang of a lot more meaningful than my previous jobs, which is the key. It's an enjoyable job, it's a hard job, but it's fulfilling," he said.

"This is the longest I've been in a job and I don't see myself changing at any time soon."