This is Us

Today we are starting a new section in The Voice called “This is Us”. During lockdown we were physically distanced, but connecting virtually we all learnt new things about each other – especially what the inside of our homes look like as we Zoomed! Our wonderful Dance and Spanish teacher, Giz Visser-Heydon, said she enjoyed learning things about people she actually knew pretty well already, and came up with the idea to profile a teacher or support staff member in each edition of this newslettter.

We like it. So, here to honour the person who came up the idea, we are profiling Giz herself.

What do you teach? Dance and Spanish. I was originally hired to teach Media Studies and English as my MA was in Media.

How long have you been a teacher? 13 years – I was offered a job at WGHS while on placement as a student-teacher at Westlake.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done in your career?  A 6-week trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with 16 Westlake students, and performing with 32 of our students (and Mrs Young) in an international dance competition in Taiwan.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people might not know? I (try) to speak 5 languages – Afrikaans, English, Spanish, German and Finnish. Trying to learn Swedish and Russian!

Greatest achievements:

  • Being a mum to my son Axl. 
  • Representing New Zealand at the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland twice. Placing 2nd in the world in 2005 and 9th in 2016.

If you were granted one wish: To end the cruelty that animals suffer. Having volunteered at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica, an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and a primate sanctuary in South Africa, I hope to pass these ideals on to my students.

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