Like many young people, Brosnon Siluuga dreamed of a career in sport or the gaming industry, but after following advice from family and friends, he became a teacher and hasn’t looked back.

Brosnon graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Primary from the University of Auckland on Friday. He now teaches Year 5 students at Papatoetoe East Primary.

“I love it! I can’t wait to get up for school each day,” he says.

“I can’t wait to get there and see my students to ask how they are and what they did in the weekend and to help them learn and encourage them to be the best they can be. My students are what drive me each and every day to the best teacher and role model I can be.”

As a teenager he shrugged off suggestions from his teachers at Marcellin College that he should teach. Instead he did a diploma of computer programming specialising in interactive gaming at Media Design School.

But after completing the diploma in 2011 he was finding it difficult to find work in the industry. His mother Diane was teaching at Holy Cross School in Papatoetoe and told him he should apply for a teacher aide position that was opening up at the school.

“Working with students, seeing how diverse the schooling environment was and being able to be a part of those light bulb moments when students learned something new was amazing,” he says.

In 2013 he started his degree at the university’s Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) campus.The University of Auckland at Manukau Programme started over 15 years ago and this May graduation marks the milestone of the 500th graduate for the Bachelor of Education (Teaching).

Brosnon says studying at MIT was great because of the supportive staff and convenience to home. Now the 26-year old is recommending teaching to others.

“If you love to help, encourage and support others, and are well-organised and punctual, then teaching is definitely for you.”

He is particularly keen to encourage more men into teaching.

“I know there are quite a few of us out there who are reluctant to teach because of their personal experiences at school, because of the stereotypes that surround male teachers, or because you think it’s going to be too hard or too challenging. Ignore all of that, because at the end of the day, it could be you who is making the difference in the lives of others for a living.”

Brosnon was supported at his graduation ceremony by his parents, Diane and Don, his sisters Ahriel, who is also training to be a teacher, Milan and Parish, and his fiancé Jolisa and one-year-old daughter Nahla.