Gabby Knapp loves her mum to bits, but having to sit in the same university lectures as her — that would have just been too much for her to handle.
‘‘It would have been so embarrassing. The shame. No, I wasn’t keen to be in the same class.’’
The 21-year-old has just completed a bachelor of teaching (endorsed in primary) at the University of Otago in Dunedin, while her mother Belinda Knapp (46) has just completed the same degree at the university’s Invercargill campus.
Mrs Knapp said she previously worked as a teacher aid, and when Gabby decided to go into teacher training they both went along to a University of Otago open night at the Invercargill campus to see what the degree entailed.
‘‘I’d always toyed with the idea of going teaching, but I still had two boys at school and I thought that studying and trying to be a mum would be too much.
‘‘But after going to the open night in Invercargill, I realised that it’s actually really family-friendly there and I could manage it.’’
Unbeknown to Gabby, she said her final decision about whether she would do it or not rested on what her daughter did.
‘‘I live in Edendale, so it would be relatively easy to study at the Invercargill campus.
‘‘I just needed to wait for Gabby to decide whether she wanted to study in Invercargill or Dunedin.
‘‘I wasn’t going to cramp her style. No-one wants their mum in their class.
‘‘I was rapt when she chose Dunedin. Otherwise I would have put it off.’’
Gabby said the upside of them doing the same degree at the same time was that they could help each other through the courses.
‘‘Most of our lectures all lined up, so if there was anything that we weren’t too sure on, we could just ring each other and talk about it.
‘‘It was really helpful.
‘‘It’s quite special that we’ve both done this.
‘‘It’s nice to have someone in the family who understands what I’ve had to do to get this degree.’’
Gabby said when she and her mum discussed education around the dinner table, her father and two brothers would roll their eyes and talk about rugby.
‘‘Our bond has strengthened because of this.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to crossing the graduation stage with Mum.’’
Mrs Knapp said it would be a ‘‘special moment’’ for both of them.
Next year, Mrs Knapp will teach year 7 and 8 pupils in Gore and Gabby will be teaching the same age-group in Ashburton.