Monday, 16 April 2012

Creating a Strong Foundation

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa!

Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Pirongia te maunga
Ko Waipa te awa
Ko Te Kopua te marae
Ko Ngati Paretekawa toku hapu
Ko Ngati Maniapoto me te Tainui toku iwi
Ko kaiako au
Ko Alex toku ingoa

Kia ora koutou. My name is Alex, and yes, I'm part Maori, hailing from the mighty Waikato - but I'm also a staunch French girl hailing from Normandy and the Channel Islands. I am the oldest of eleven children and I think these are the main reasons I chose to become a teacher. I love history, especially researching my own family histories and whakapapa, and also enjoy english  - reading, writing, speaking, dreaming, imagining.

I've always been interested in teaching others what I know - all the while knowing I am somewhat the mere muse for others as they take my knowledge, embrace it, evolve it with their own thinking and run into the hypothetical, sometimes literal sunset, growing, evolving as people and teaching others. I see myself as the muse, mostly because I can do quite a few things well. There aren't many things that I can do incredibly well though - unless you can call relating to others something that is worthy of doing well. Because this - I think - is the one thing that makes me able to teach the way I do. I've been told by many that this is my strongest aspect of my teaching. Probably why I've always been so interested in Te Kotahitanga actually.

This morning I stumbled through Google, and TKI trying to find the right forums to read and learn and experience fabulous ideas for teaching. Alas, nothing was very interesting, astounding or basically worth my time. What I did find through my search - was a link to a blog here on Blogger called 101 English Blogs. I was instantly interested. I've been blogging since I was .... 13? I've always believed in the power of writing down my thoughts and ideas - if only to get them out of my head, put on to paper, organised and focused so that I can continue on with my day. I've been diary/journal writing since I was 5 or 6 and have always found the process calming, relaxing and meditative. Before finding the link to 101 English Blogs  - I'd been pondering the idea of getting my students to write collectively as a class, as individuals - similar to Ms. G in the Freedom Writers and the concept of Freedom Writing. I think blogging is a fabulous way to increase students thinking, writing, and reading.

So, as a result - I've decided to create this blog to reflect on my teaching, my strategies, build a type of forum with other English teachers who also struggle every day with so many students wanting a moment of your precious time - who appreciate like-minded thinking and evolution of teaching. Thankyou to Claire who created this project, and allowed us to create our own thinking space to be shared by others in our field.

I have also forgotten to mention one key aspect about this blog. I am a beginning teacher. I am new to teaching - although I feel I have been teaching others my entire life. I am merely 24 years old and I am still inspired, enthusiastic, interested and hopeful. I have been teaching since June 27th last year. I have just completed my second full term, and have just finished my very first term of teaching my very own classes. Last year I was LTR (Long Term Relieving) for a colleague on maternity leave, though I did have my own Y10 class who I adored. I suppose you always fall in love with the first lot of students you have in your teaching career. When I left last year (though at the time I wasn't aware that I'd definitely be back) they gave me cards, pictures and two students even gave me flowers. Their drawings and messages are blu-tacked to my wall in my room. Messages of thanks, appreciation and acknowledgement that I am a good teacher. I look at these before going to school, and after a bad day especially, reminding myself that I am making a difference, that I am actually helping and that I am a good teacher.

For now - this is me signing off,

Alex