Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Inaugural #EngChatNZ Live-Chat on Twitter

Wow. Can't believe I did it.

Huge thank you goes out to Joanne, Ros, Alyx, Sian, Annemarie, Matty and of course Danielle :)

Thank you to all of you who came along. I was really worried that no-one would come! But you did! And had such great responses.

Here is a Storify I made up - with Tweets from earlier on in the week as well. Thanks to Alyx who made up a Storify straight away from the chat. It's awesome :)

I really appreciate everything that you ladies and Matt have done for me and helping us get #scichatnz and #engchatnz up and running. Such an awesome experience.

Am super tired now though. Time for bed.

Had parent/teacher interviews - and then the first ever #EngChatNZ.

I managed to hook my mate Laura into using Twitter yesterday so hopefully Natasha can get her PEChatNZ off of the ground too. Would be awesome to see more subject ones begin too.

Again - we wouldn't have this without Danielle's work with #edchatnz. She truly is the tohunga in connecting us up over Twitter in NZ. Love it.

Nga mihi nunui ki a koutou katoa. Nga mihi mo nga tautoko, nga aroha, nga wairua me manawanui. Naku te rourou, nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

- Alex

Monday, 28 July 2014

Girls Rugby - Te Wharekura o Mauao

First half:
Second half:

Tries :
Autumn x2 (meaaaan run)



Friday, 25 July 2014

Professional Development 2014

This is an ongoing blog post - where I list the different professional learning and development courses - which I have been to so far this year. Seeing as it is half way through the year- I might as well start being reflective more holistically - rather than just having all the notes in my purple reflective diary.



PB4L Session - Teacher Only Day - Run by PB4L staff and Ministry of Ed members

PB4L Session - Run by Staff from School -  Our Graduating Heights Student

PB4L Session - Run by Staff from School -  Major vs Minor Issues/Problems and Pinkies PD

PB4L Session - Run by members of PBL Team in House Group Time -

PB4L Session - Run by members of PB4L Team in House Group Time - PB4L Photo Comp

PB4L Session - Run by member of PB4L Team in House Group Time  - Restorative Practice Chats, the new PB4L pamphlet and practice sheets determining which value we would talk about

EduIgnite and Educamps

#eduigniteRotovegas - First ever eduignite! Amazing. Was super nervous going, having knowing no-one other than a couple of ladies from Twitter. First ever google hangout session through TeachMeetNZ with Sonya van Schijik

#educampHB - Fabulous event. First ever educamp. Unconference style model. "Choose with your feet.." - Juliet Revell. Drove to Napier with Anne-Marie Hyde (@mrs_hyde) and Marnel van der Spuy (@1MvdS).

#eduigniteTheTron - Another fabulous event! More face to face networking and connections made. Learnt about using more NZSL in class and doodle desks.. modern learning environment, what to do during a measles epidemic with assessments and Google Drive, learnt about the importance of using Twitter for connecting and networking etc

#connectED14 - An event for teachers in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty - learnt loads on Creative Commons, how the brain works and how to use blogs effectively for student learning. Met some very cool people and met face to face with others I'd met at previous local events. I was still on my Twitter as a Teacher workshop buzz too so was sharing my ideas throughout the break times. :)

#educampAKL - Going to this tomorrow! Looking forward to it!! Update: Was very cool. Learnt about the Daily Five, Minecraft, Student Blogging and GAFE. Huge thankyou to Marnel and Anne-Marie for taking me up :)


PPTA Issues and Organising Conference (March) - Fabulous. Mind-blowing. Learnt so so much. Absolutely blessed to have been able to go to this. So lucky and fortunate to have been chosen as the Establishing Teacher representative for my branch (school) and for the region of Bay of Plenty. I learnt how to be more receptive to others, and above all else how to connect and network. From this conference I was introduced to Twitter as a teacher with a New Zealand focus - and pushed me to tweet during the conference as well. I made new face to face and Twitter friends as a result of this conference and I look forward to seeing them again at Annual Conference!

PPTA Maori Teacher's Conference (July) - KA MAU TE WEHI!! First ever Maori Teacher's Conference. Was amazing to be with so many like-minded, passionate Maori educators, all passionate about improving Maori student success. Made loads of new friends, learnt loads and wrote heaps of notes. Check out my Storify and also the previous post on this!

NZATE English Teacher's Conference (July) - AMAZING. First ever English teacher's conference. Was so cool to be in a massive room full of other crazy and energetic teachers, bubbling with passion. Particularly in the workshop on Spoken Word Poetry with the Name Game!! Presented for the first time in a workshop on using 'Twitter as a Teacher'. Loads of networking and learning. See the previous post on this!

CLESOL Conference (July) - Presented on 'Maori as Achievers'. Very successful. There is a Youtube recording from our TeachmeetNZ session via Google Hangout.

#edchatnz Conference (August)

PPTA Annual Conference - Am going to this later on in the year :)

PPTA NET's Conference 2015 - Currently in the planning stages for the PPTA Establishing Teachers Committee

Twitter Live Chats






One off Teaching and Learning Experiences

'Word:The Front Line' concertThis concert was created by the South Auckland Poets Collective. The event was the very first inter-high school spoken word poetry slam competitions. It was AMAZING. I learnt so much just sitting in the crowd with my friend Lauren. Cost: I won our tickets through their FB competition where I had to use the hashtag #bravecampaign - I discussed how far I've come as a person in the last few years and how transformative and thankful I am as a result. 

Tabs I currently have open on Chrome...

I am a hoarder. There. I said it.

I am terrible at organising my paper hoard... well I was good at uni... except for that time Mum made me sort through my hoard and an entire trailer load was taken away full of unneccessary paper... and that which I didn't 'need' anymore. She's a hoarder too... but she will never admit it. :P

Online though... and through e-copies - I've gotten much better - I've always been pretty good because I'm a little OCD about organising folders on my computer and my hard-drives... even back when I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction and saved it on my Floppy drives... never ever search for it online. I have refused to read it since - worried about my highly clichéd and young style of writers' voice.


Here are an on-going list of my tabs I keep open on my computer... for that one day I might actually have time to properly peruse them.

+Matt Nicoll's blog post on #EdSmac - Stage One 
Supporting Future Focussed Learning in Schools - NZ Focus
Future Focussed Learning and Teaching - NZ Focus
A World of Project Ideas for PBL to Steal - From Suzie Boss
Bringing Acceptable Use Policies into the 21st Century 

Beyond the Pro's and Con's of Trigger Warnings
Making QR Codes

And on my phone at the moment -

Blogs and Specific Posts

Teaching apps and ideas

Everyday Sites

Current events

Inspirational Extras

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hi ho... hi ho... it's off to work we go...

The first week back in Term 3 is always full on.

Assessments to catch up, finish and start. Students to sort out and make sure they're on task. Students who I'm doing inquiries on to follow up and see where they're at.

It's easy with my students now who know me and who know how I operate in class. Sometimes it would be easier if this kind of relationship could happen that quickly in term 1. But there were a number of things that made life difficult at the start of term - and with the changing rolls and the extra class - it was pretty hard. Hopefully next year I'll be even more onto it.

For those of you in holiday mode - I salute you, you lucky things. Check these links out:

Weird Al Yankovic's 'Word Crimes' video

This is my list of things to do when starting a new year, with new classes:

  • Get pumped for a new year! Find exciting things to put up in my classroom
  • Print out the names and photos of all of my students in each class (this will change a lot throughout the first few weeks so I don't glue anything into my planbook until later)
  • Get my new planbook insides and fill them in - with my classes and with my own information
  • Plan out possible themes and basic unit plans for the coming year as well as the required assessments - with the way that I would teach it. 
  • Photocopy some name games and get to know you activities for me and my students
  • Get my students to write me a letter introducing them to me
  • Find out background information about my students - via past teachers, student voice/data, students' own recollections and understanding of how they learn best and also how they need help
  • Re-arrange classroom - desks, wall displays, make my class more relevant to my own students
  • Organise whiteboard setup... 
  • Implement the amazing stuff I learnt from using Twitter
  • Connect with whanau (families) and introduce myself
  • Put up posters that I had to take down before the end of year exams
  • Memorise my students names

What I plan on doing next year:
  • Have a letter home early on about the importance of blogging as part of improving literacy (reading/writing)
  • Think about the way in which I use assessment data with my students and how I will use it to not only inform my practice, but how it will help my students improve
  • Make more of an effort at putting up the amazing posters and things that my students create throughout the year, rather than just a basic approach. 
  • Make my class more colourful and a warmer environment to be in - more welcoming
  • Try to be more flexible within my learning environment

The important aspect of this all... is that this is the bare minimum of everything we do at the start of the year. I didn't mention the huge hauls at the stationary shops or the filling up of the lolly bucket or the small spot prizes I buy for quick extrinsic rewards in order to eventually move to intrinsic reward systems. My students - in particular my Y10 students - work hardest for intrinsic rewards now - whereas they kind of plateau early when there is an extrinsic reward offered... mainly because they know that regardless if I've made the class a cake they'll all get some anyway...

I didn't mention the huge amounts of time that go into thinking about student welfare and the best way to assess students depending on and resulting in x. Nor did I mention the emotional and mental stress of the extra - whatever the extra is. 

If teaching were merely teaching - it would be an easy job. It isn't an easy job and that's why teacher's get so easily frustrated at people who just don't understand the difficulties... or why we get annoyed when people moan about the fact that we get relatively long holidays... or when people use their own knowledge of being a student themselves back then, and think that they know everything about my job... or that they assume that just because they went to school they reckon they could do what I do... maybe they could. 

And with that... I will leave you this:

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori 2014

And it begins! Looking forward to the influx of reo Māori on the airwaves, through tweets, blog posts and facebook posts.

Here is a small insight into the many take (topic, concern) and raruraru (issues) around why it's important - thanks to NZTalkback Radio and Tamati Coffey and Hinemoana Baker. 

My wish for NZ: to be a bi-lingual country where her citizens can feel comfortable switching easily between reo Māori and reo Pākehā in conversation, signage, newspapers and other forms of media.

What's yours?

Taku haerenga akoranga - My learning journey

Most of you have read of my mighty haka on the dinghi... but what you might not know is that I've been a part of a Kapa Haka roopu (Maori Culture Group) since I was five years old. 

Unfortunately when I was growing up I wasn't taught much in the way of te reo Māori, or tikanga Māori... much of what I learnt I still feel is common knowledge (ie. don't wear hats inside, take shoes off when you go inside, never EVER sit on a table - especially if it will be used for kai, don't yell at the beach, never put your hairbrush or hair accessories on the table, no-one is allowed to touch your taonga unless you have given permission, you can't buy a pounamu for yourself - it has to be given to you... etc). I was taught many of these things as I was growing up - but to me it just seems like everyone knows the reasons behind it... which all goes back to tapu.

What I was taught while growing up instead, was tikanga of the Cherokee and a lot of that equates to the tikanga of Māori - in particular the importance of the whenua (land and placenta), of the Earth Mother (Papatuanuku), how the atua could give or take as they pleased and how important it was to give thanks before partaking of kai - especially that of which you have killed yourself. I learnt a lot of the sacred traditions: rain dances, how to create a good smudge stick, the importance of knowing who you are and where you come from, and of course a resounding awareness that some people may not ever understand you or your people. 

In recent years I have been making these positive connections more and more because for a long time I was angry that I wasn't brought up as Maori. I was... but I wasn't. Does that make sense?

At the end of the day though... I am resoundingly grateful to my Mum for teaching me these practices of the Cherokee, she being a mana wahine, tohunga etc in her own right and feels a close connection with the earth and all things around her. If you ever get the chance to meet her... you'll know what I mean. 

What still frustrates me... though I am learning to accept it... is that she will probably never get her pronunciation of reo Māori correct. And this comes back to the incarceration of Reo Māori and the fact that it has only been an 'Official' language of Aotearoa/New Zealand since 1987. Because of this - many in Aotearoa have this innate pathological feeling that they do not want anything to do with it - for many many reasons.. of which right now is not the time nor place to go into it. But regardless - this is why Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is so important. 

I remember a few of my kaiako (teachers) throughout my reo Māori learning journey - at five and upwards til I was 13 - I was taught by mainly those from our rohe (area) in which I grew up. I learnt that dialect quickly through waiata-a-ringa (action song), waiata tira (choral, sung without actions), waiata poi (sung with poi) and through haka. 

At 12, I, with my roopu (group) performed at Turangawaewae marae in front of Te Ariki Dame Te Atairaangikahu herself... our tino ataahua, our taonga...Our Māori Queen. To this day, as many others do too, I still feel her loss. 

At high school (age 13) I was taught still in the rohe of Ngāti Hauā/Piako/Waikato by a kaiako from the East coast. I thought it was awesome learning through the rākau (sticks, blocks) to remind myself how to do my mihimihi and pepeha... 

What wasn't awesome was that a girl in my class didn't think it acceptable for a 'white girl' to be learning reo Māori, much less to be in the school Kapa Haka roopu... That experience is one that stopped me from continuing with te reo and my beloved roopu for the rest of my high schooling career. I regret not standing up to her, and wish I had instead pushed her away from me in the corridor and with my chin up, walk out and keep going to my reo Māori class and try outs for Kapa Haka. Seeing her in town still gives me chills, but now I think I scare her... perhaps like I did back then. Because she didn't know me and who I was - nor did she know that saying, "You're too white to do Kapa Haka" would continue to stop me from doing things Māori for a very long time.. 

Having a kaiako from the East coast made it slightly difficult to my ears later on when I re-started my learning journey as a university student because I had originally learnt the word for Pōwhiri with the WH which we used at primary and intermediate. But then with the kaiako from the coast at High school we used it... without the WH. And then when I went to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (Highly recommend it too btw)... I was taught by a series of kaiako who all had different dialects... and once I learnt why I couldn't quite understand people when they said pōhiri it all started to make sense. Dialectical differences is what helps make Te Reo Māori rich and beautiful - as well as the fact that it is poetic and rich with descriptive language and of course, love.

Since starting at TWOA I have learnt SO much. It's taken a while, with moving from Hamilton to Auckland, and then down here to Rotorua... but finally, last year - I completed my Diploma in Te Ara Reo Māori. I was meant to continue this year with Te Au Pikitanga... a fully immersed course, but it didn't seem to get underway. I will continue that instead next year. As well as Kura Reo (learning te reo Maori during the school holidays).  

The problem with the learning journey overall that I have found, is that it is increasingly difficult to keep the reo fresh and used in my mind and on my tounge... if I don't actually speak everyday with someone in te reo Māori. 

That is why my wish is for those living in Aotearoa/New Zealand to have Reo Māori be more fluent and USED in everyday life. To have it more visual through signage on roads has been a great start, but it isn't everywhere. Like Tamati Coffey said in his Newstalk panel earlier this morning (link above) - it is great that Taupō now has a macron (tohu tō or pōtae/hat) on the O... However - for those who don't know that it needs one... it becomes difficult for correct pronunciation... 

A bit of phonetics for you:

A - as in: cup, arm, are
E - as in: egg, steer
I - as in: big, see, Rio (it sounds like E does in English basically - but also like the i in big)
O - as in: or
U - as in: moon

Now when a macron or tohu tō is used on top of a vowel sound - it means that that vowel is doubled or elongated. For example: Taupō

To say 'Taupō' - the blended vowel sounds of 'au' and the blended consonant and vowel sound of 'po':

au - as in: toe
pō - as in: paw

So - say Taupō - (toe/paw) - BUT - remember that the ō has a macron - which means that the O is elongated... so toe/paaww

Want to know how to add macrons while typing? Click this link.

If you enjoyed learning about reo Māori... the basics can be found through many of the institutions in NZ (Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Te Wānanga o Awanui-a-Rangi, Te Wānanga o Raukawa), and through Auckland University, Waikato University, Victoria University etc. 

Personally I enjoyed learning through the Wānanga o Aotearoa because I learnt at my own pace... very quick in that first year and more steadily and then faster as the next years continued... and because they have AMAZING resources. When I say amazing... I truly mean it. Also - having the opportunity to learn at night time while doing my degree, and last year while teaching was immensely helpful. I learn better at night too... Should really give myself the nickname of Whaea Ruru (Morepork) haha. I'm punny as... Miss L.. Miss Owl... haha. 

More info here:

Learn Te Reo Māori Online:
Te Kupu o te Wiki - Word of the Week - In partnership with Te Taurawhiri and Radio NZ - Definitely check this one out!
Kupu o te Ra - Word of the Day - Sign up to register for an emailed kupu hou each day!
Toku Reo - Te Reo Māori Channel  Programme - Amazing. 
100 Māori Words every New Zealander MUST know - 
Te Pūmanawa - Teaching Te Reo Maori through technology - Free apps :)
Korero Māori - loads of resources and clips :) 

Te Kete Ipurangi - Teaching Resources and for the General Public too :) 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Thought Processes and blogging...

Just for the record - I write in my purple paper diary first - during any professional development - mainly because that's the way that I can get any quotes down or ideas written down fast. Over the years that I've been blogging - I've learnt that online journalling is too quick of a published post. I need to think about what I've written and think about the conference (or professional learning or whatever else that has made me want to write) in more depth and then post something relatively reflective and strong as a piece of writing. When I write on here without writing in my paper journal - it's because I've been ruminating for a long time on the issue and I've finally either got the courage, guts or the best way to start the post. Sometimes I write on here just for the sake of hearing my own voice... and those are the ones that should really have just gone into my paper journal.. But sometimes there's some solid truths in them all.

In this thought process - there are similarities within how I teach my students to write - though alot of the time it feels like there isn't enough TIME to do anything really well. We have a HUGE curriculum to get through and writing sometimes gets left at the wayside - particularly creative writing. So far this year my junior students have done bits and pieces here and there but we haven't worked them up to a full published piece yet. Am hoping to do that this term. The seniors on the other hand - were taught a specific genre - and task for their writing - and while they had relative freedom in their writing  - there were many students who just didn't have the ability - basically because they don't read enough. To be a good writer, you need to read- to increase your vocabulary, experiment with different writers' styles in order to create your own style of writing. 

There often  isn't time to edit assessments to their ultimate best as a piece of writing or even just pure writing - done for fun rather than tested and marked. This is the reason why I think student blogging could be really effective. It would give the kids an outlet, an instant audience and would teach them the importance of editing their thoughts - for clarity, sense and overall enjoyment and ease of reading. They would get peer-reviewed feedback and feedforward and more importantly - would get them reading... and of course writing. Yes there are safety issues and equity issues involved. But think of the possibilities! Hmmm. :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Casting my net wide...

Today I followed a heap of new people on Twitter.

Nga tangata i te ao Maori i te Aotearoa...

People from museums...

People from publishing companies...

People who were new to me as educators...

People from the three Live chats I jumped into - #21stedchat #blogchat #iaedchat

Stoked by the @tweachme app. But it still needs work on its' schedule because I was one hour late to all the chats...

And then...had a thought to start a class blog... this was the result:

A Twitter and English teaching colleague asked if NZ English teachers had a Twitter spreadsheet... We didn't as far as I was aware.. so created one... Thanks @catrionapene!

And.... I want to create an English teachers live chat... or one for New Teachers in NZ... #ntnzchat maybe? or my original idea from ages ago was #ntchatnz - but am thinking it's best just to stick with #edchatnz because there is enough of a following for that as it is and we can bring the newbies into that instead. Just making it more public I suppose and letting newbies know about it...

Have also thought about how I'm going to make my #techthursday revolution a little bigger... but it's also scary for obvious reasons to me.

I'm still stoked about last week. Still haven't posted why I'm stoked. And... I think I might just have a nap instead.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Blogging: Amazing Blog posts

Recently Polly Hamilton decided she would put together a list of education and teaching blogs from all over nz - most likely English teaching ones.

So am starting a wee collection here:


Altering Student Behaviours 101

My dad shared this Blog post with me on Facebook. He shared it with a few of my other siblings as well... and of course it's absolutely brilliant. Have a read for yourself.

It reminded me of what I had done on the last day of school, last period of the day with my Year 9 students.

Last term we had an overwhelming resurgence of knitting... well basically looming. Because loom bands made their way into schools, all kids were creating them, boys and girls - and it tended to be the boys who created thw best ones and showed them off to me. Of course it was the boys in my class who I noticed being entrepreneurial first off when selling the bands.. hopefully to raise funds for more bands and then carry it on...

Of course with any new fad, someone stupid ruins the fun and it gets dangerous.  For example, planking and most recently the ice challenge... Moe mai ra e matua.

In this case, there were competitions in who could fling a rubber band the furthest or who could deal with being plucked by the bands the most etc. Mostly though - they became used to hurt others and ended up all over the school and on classroom floors. Eventually I became worried for the birds and after my first lecture about using proper rubber bands for slingshots back in the first term, I had to start confiscating mass loads of bands.

My Year 9 students are incredibly honest and always tell me the truth. We've worked hard on creating that trust and they know that my class is a safe space, and nine times out of ten I tend to give back things I've confiscated for the period... with the exception of the loom bands because it just got too out of hand.  

I originally thought and still think it's silly to confiscate the actual bracelets.. but when kids are ruining it for others and using them as weapons it's dangerous and unacceptable.

I even wore a couple of bands to show solidarity with the original loom band creators because it's a beautiful creative trend and was really impressed by the talent and time that went into making them.
My students knew the rules in my class and so when I would walk around the class, palm open to collect bands after someone was being stupid in class, they tended to just hand them over. I even had this one kid bring whole piles up to my desk because he felt guilty for not handing them all over.


On that last day, last period - we were working on creative writing.. having a go at one of my new games which I stole from 7 Days and Ellen Degeneres - Caption This.

Kids were having a ball, we were in teams, it was getting rowdy and then when finally it came time to do research projects on the COWs (Computers on Wheels) they were all quiet, researching their chosen topic.

Five minutes towards the end of the lesson however, two students started having an argument. These two were/are best buds and so as I'd seen the aftermath I got them to come sit with me and discuss what was going on.

All that I had seen was L go over to C and touch his shoulder. Little did I know that L had also flicked C on the leg with a loom band and C was really upset about it.

What I didn't see was that C had done the fingers to L because C hadn't heard L say sorry and that it was only a joke, because they do play pranks on each other.

L didn't want to sit down with me and C but eventually he did after I used his nickname that his Mum calls him too (which I didn't know when I first started calling him it!)...

I asked C what the problem was because he was nearly in tears and L was obviously not ready to start talking yet because of his attitude and body language. C told me that L had flicked him with the band and that it had hurt. L said well you didn't need to do the fingers at me because I said sorry C and said it was just a joke. Asked C if he had heard L say sorry and C said he didn't. Asked L how he felt being pulled the finger at and he said it wasn't fair because he had said sorry and was now angry with C and didn't want to talk to him anymore. I asked C why being flicked made him upset.. he said because he had had a bad day already.  L asked what the problem was and C explained. L said that he didn't even know that was going on. I asked C whether he would apologise for doing the fingers... he did and then I asked L if he would apologise for flicking C. He did and then asked them both if they forgave each other. C was quick to forgive L and L needed a little bit more time to agree but he did. They both shook hands and went back to what they were doing.

At the end of the bell while I was waiting on the ramp, preventing them from all making that massive run home early before the bell on the last day, both boys were laughing and giggling again. Crisis averted.

But how often as teachers do we let a somewhat small issue pass us by and not do anything about it.
If I had done nothing, perhaps they would have resolved it over the holidays or it could have become a huge feud which separated the class and ruined their friendship. Because of the kind of boys they are and once L had calmed down, perhaps they could have resolved it by themselves... but you just never know.

Take the time to get to know your students. Figure out their normal behaviours so that you can notice their bad days and then learn how to negotiate them so that they can find a way back to a happier and safer place in your classroom.

We're all leaders. All teachers in our own way. Make a difference and show some compassion.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Importance of Goal Setting

At that point once again when I need to re-evaluate... here are some of the reflections for goals I have made so far...

1) Save money for OE
Need to save money before I can go. Easy right? Not for me. I'm still learning how.

2) Become an associate teacher
I realllly want to be an associate teacher but think I need to be more onto-it first myself - so that's a process.

3) Teach history and social studies as well as English 
I really miss teaching history and social studies - even though I do tend to use my passion for those subjects as an English teacher...

4) Get my bus driving licence
I want to be a tour guide one day...

5) Make some connections with those at the Rotorua Museum 
I want to be a museum curator one day...

6) Write a book
I want to write and finish a book. Any book. Fiction, educational etc

7) Look into starting or working at a publishing company to get experience
I would like to have my own publishing company - to publish more relatable books for our NZ teens - that are written by NZ authors - and help to make that connection to the past, present and future even more accessible.

8) Educate myself on Education policies of all current parties
So that I have a solid grounding for the future. I'd like to be President of PPTA at some point in the future. Or giving back in that capacity in some way. Also - am helping Tamati Coffey with his campaign here in Rotorua...

9) Pay off the last of my debts
I am halfway through paying off my Student Loan... Should have my car, tv, washing machine and fridge paid off by February. I am still working on paying off my credit card. And still owe money to Mum, Nana and Dad :) Nearly there. One more year I reckon to get it mostly all gone... and then I suppose I'll be in a better position to buy a house... though that mortgage though...

10) Keep Kiwisaver at the top rate so I can save enough money for a house deposit
Am currently having Kiwisaver at the highest rate possible - because I knew that this last year would have been inconceivable for me to save any money. And so I think I'll be able to save $15,000 by the end of the year at the rate I'm going at the moment :)

CLESOL Presentation - Maori as Achievers

For those of you who are aware of the Tapu series blog posts I've done - you will know that I am quite seriously serious about Maori achievement. Like Hekia Parata said at the Maori Teachers' Conference - "Success Breeds Success" - and while I agree with the sentiment, there is a lot of data that is out in the public arena that proves to whanau, students and teachers that Maori and Pacific Island students don't do as well as non-Maori students.

I have talked at length about my issues with maths - and while I appreciate statistics and the reasons for using them in this way to collect data on our students to be aware of the huge gap - it in essence continues to remind our Maori and Pacific Island students that they are consistently playing a game of catch-up.

The use of data in this way - successfully creates a negative mindset in our students' minds and puts a mental wall in the students' psyche. It also creates a negative mindset for our teachers of our students as well - because our Maori and Pacific Island students are our priority learners. They should be - but not because they're falling behind the national standard. As a result - depending on the person and the amount of deficit theorising that goes on... the teacher chooses whether to believe in that student or not. And as teachers since we are driven by collecting data to inform our teaching - often it makes the point that yes, Maori and Pacific Island students do not do as well as non-Maori - and for me - that in itself is heartbreaking.

Of course all of this blog post is from my own personal opinion - and more importantly - from my experiences with my students. Because - that's the best data out there. Real data. Real success. Real learning and teaching.

And while we can use the data to inform our teaching - in reality - it doesn't do more than that. The building of relationships is so important that it often gets overlooked when put alongside something as statistically important as data - and it is these relationships that are created that are the drivers in making change and success happen.

The Point: Pride and Confidence

The point of this presentation at CLESOL was to talk about how I teach my bi-lingual students. For me - it comes down to creating confidence in our students first, so that they can feel comfortable for who they are, feel pride in who they are - which then leads to all other aspects of their cultural, academic, sporting and personal success.

I still don't have a good title. Perhaps the one above will work. 'Maori as achievers'.

I talked to one of my new mentors while at the Maori Teachers conference (#huarahi14) and asked her how to go about discussing this topic without causing offence or making others feel uncomfortable. She said that my passion would shine through and that as a result - I would say the right things so that it didn't become misconstrued and so that people would understand what I was getting at.

The biggest issue I've had with getting this presentation ready is that I was doing it via webcam and so as a result couldn't gauge my audience's reactions to what I was saying. As someone that has a very flexible teaching style - I tend to work off of my student's prior learning and go from there. With this conference presentation - it's a quick three minute snapshot of something I'm doing well.

What do I do well? 

Create relationships. Use relationships to help manage and improve student behaviours and success. Maintain relationships by keeping in touch with whanau and the students' community. Empathise with my students and am aware of the very diverse nature of differing perspectives and life experiences.

As a new teacher, I am increasingly aware of the diverse range of teachers out there - and the diverse range of students as well.

I feel as a new teacher that I have a lot to share -  but often worry that what I do have to share is not good enough - so tend to share more often on here and Twitter than at school - because I get scared that it might not be good 'enough'. A lot of this insecurity stems from the fact that while I grew up I didn't have a lot of support from my family as Maori - nor did I receive this support from my school (though this tends to have a bit to do with the hallway incident at High School and the being "too white" event and that I got shy of being Maori from then on and focussed on being French) - despite showing my pride as Maori through Kapa Haka, sports and educational success. 

One of my student teachers - who I have written about in the #WhoIamWhatIdo post - taught me to be proud of who I am despite the multiple others telling me that I wasn't good enough and the impact that this one teacher has had on me as an individual and as Maori has been huge. I use her advice with my students whenever I have need of it and it tends to go down well. Nga mihi nui ki a koe e hoa ma. 

I try as hard as I can to help my students feel proud of who they are despite whatever backgrounds they may have come from and whatever they are dealing with at that point in time. 

As a result of my own personal experiences, I want to have a truly positive impact on my students. 

My Personal Skills
I am a compassionate and considerate teacher and I care about what my students feel about themselves. It's increasingly important to me to make sure my students feel safe, secure, comfortable and listened to. I want them to feel that they can discuss anything and also give their opinions in a welcome space without fear of being intimidated or mocked by others.
I encourage them to succeed. I praise them on their effort, rather than their intelligence or ability in that subject. 

Fixed vs Growth Mindsets
This year I have used Carol Dweck's Fixed vs Growth Mindset theories to challenge my students’ mindsets to develop from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. This has seriously begun to make some progress in developing my students positive thinking about the skills that they have in other classes and why they do well in some classes rather than others - and more importantly - how to transfer that feeling of success from a subject that they do well in/enjoy to one that they may not necessarily do well in or may dislike. 

Importance of Pride in Success
We don’t often have the opportunity to be proud as Maori. Why? Historical background is full of examples - acts created by government in the past to force assimilation - for example the Native Schools Act (  ). Check this post out where I explain this idea in more depth.

Background Info

The project that I will be discussing at the CLESOL conference is created from my own personal experience and of course through the fabulous programme of Te Kotahitanga. The initiative focuses on building relationships as the key to success. It truly has been the key to my own success with my students. 

My bi-lingual students had just come back from an assembly where they were told that historically Maori achieve considerably less than non-Maori. This assessment data and the way we use data to try to encourage our students to work harder negatively affects our Maori students’ mindsets. It makes them feel that already they cannot achieve because there is data continuously facing them that proves it. They are given a huge responsibility to change this data and improve it - but they are sent away with knowledge but without advice on how to go about doing it.

I told my bi-lingual students that they were more than the data that they had been given. They had skills and abilities and aspects of their personalities that were way more important.

These two questions continue to guide my own teaching:
  1. How do we as Maori stop ourselves from achieving? 
  2. How do I as an individual achieve to the best of my ability?   
These two questions were instrumental in making sure my focus as a teacher was on enabling my students to feel confident and successful in everything that they do.

Student Voice data collection
My students knew why they didn't achieve well, and also what effects it had on them as individuals and as Maori. 
This student voice data - shows that my students knew why they didn’t achieve - the fact that they believed what others said about them and that they chose not to listen to teachers who they didn’t like.
My students said that "they don’t listen to teachers who they don't connect with" - which is true for a lot of students - I know that for a fact in my own schooling.
With this data having been collected - we discussed the alternatives to feeling like this - and understanding the need to be more aware of other peoples' perspectives and how as Maori we are an inclusive people and tend to give more of ourselves than there is to give. 
I am still hoping to catch up with that class in a couple more years - maybe even this year to see their development as students, as people, as young rangatahi and certainly as young rangatira. 

Project Impact
The project itself has had a huge impact on my students since then. I may not do this empowerment task with my students at the moment - but that initial empowerment task has helped me immensely in re-challenging my own thinking about seeing data as the be all. My students are learning that they can achieve as Maori, that they can achieve as individuals regardless of where they’re from or how they’ve been brought up and that they can succeed despite the data that they are consistently being told.

Without a strong relationship between teacher and student - it is difficult to get anywhere in the classroom. Data will continue to be data unless we make a point in attempting to help our students be all that they can be.

Generally I try to ignore the data as much as possible - because as a teacher and as a prior student I know that there is a certain amount of deficit theorising that goes on in schools. I refuse to deficit theorise towards any of my students - Maori or non-Maori. I do not want to make the mistake of even THINKING that because of XYZ... this student will not do as well as this student. Because data continues to be focussed on - it's hard to get away from using it to inform our teaching - so instead I use it to individualise my teaching and learning and try to make my students create their own goals - whether they be academic, social, sports related or even cultural. 

I want my students to feel that they can achieve - despite the data that they know also says that Maori achieve consistently lower than Maori. I want my students to feel that they have the confidence to ignore the data and focus on what they can do themselves individually - and also as Maori. 

I think it is important to acknowledge the projects that have informed my teaching practice and style - namely Te Kotahitanga -of which there wouldn't be my own personal project in the first place, Ka Hikitia and He Kakano. Our school is currently working with the Building on Success team to see how our Te Kotahitanga practices have continued to support our students. And I am still pretty stoked from my initial baseline for TK back when I was at my first school - and after my BOS observation - I just need to continue what I'm doing and remember to use visual learning intentions more often. For me it's more that I need to have a visual reminder - like a scaffold with my SOLO labels - which I use sometimes but not always... so that's something I want to work on because by having visual learning intentions our students can see what level they have been working at and for some - they will be working consistently at three or four levels depending on the different mahi we do in class. 

At present I am doing an inquiry on two students - one in Year 10 and another in Year 11. The boy in Year 10 - we shall call C and the boy in Year 11 we shall call B. 

Based on the Asttle data from the start of the year - when C and I sat down together to look at his reading age and also his areas of improvement needed - it is clear that he just does not read enough. Now I could deficit theorise and say this is because C lives out in the wops or that it's because he is into pig hunting or that his whanau may not put much stock on reading because of XYZ. This is not fair to him, his whanau and relating it to myself - to me and my whanau. I grew up in a small town, went pig hunting with my Grandad (and all other styles of hunting...), however from a very young age my Nan created a love for reading with me. This could be the same for C - I just haven't had that conversation yet.

C has decided that he wants to improve his reading level from 3-4 to 4-5. Now you may have been deficit theorising already just from that small amount of background already - and maybe thought that he would have been at 2-3 instead. He isn't a terrible reader. In fact he's pretty good. He wants to improve his vocabulary as well. But he hasn't caught my bug yet. He has trouble finding a book he actually enjoys - and it is this issue we are currently working on because I seriously believe in the power of a good book to transform a kids' life. I still have a term and a half to go with him - and there's still time to help him help himself.

For me - the bug has always been the curiosity of finding something out - the passion to learn is something that is inherently embedded in me - and so it frustrates me when my students don't seem to care because if I had had a teacher as amazing as me (humble I know!) I would be sitting front and centre, elbows bent on the table, fists clenched and relaxed under my chin and big dopey and sparkley eyes looking up at my teacher to learn the next thing.

I do have students like this - but unfortunately I'm still working on making C and a few others like this. And like Joe Bennett said in his Keynote at the English conference the other day - I may not be the teacher that these particular students do this with - for some kids it could be a teacher that isn't like me at all that sparks them to learn and gets that inner fire started to drive their passion further. And that's fabulous. We all have our strengths.

C has made some success - but I'm waiting for the bug to hit. He was AMAZING when it came to teaching the class about SOLO and him and K were absolutely ecstatic and buzzing that they knew the stuff and could be the tuakana for once in class. I now continue to bank on that positivity for those boys because they need to feel that they too can achieve. In fact, I made these two boys a cake to share with the class so that they could further be proud of their achievements.

B on the other hand - has struggled with the analysis side of English in Year 11. He can verbalise his thoughts with me and if he wasn't so shy (even though at times he's hilariously cocky) he would rock the speech assessment. He might not get Excellence because he, like C needs to read to develop his vocabulary, but he would definitely make us believe in what he's saying - and for me - that's commanding attention - or at the very least being convincing.

Quite recently we have been doing our static images. He has blossomed. Completely. For a boy that has a similar background to C, he has found a tiny bit of success and he has been enjoying the fact that he knows how to create an image that is truly effective. He finished well before others - and it should easily gain a Merit - if not more. Unfortunately - it is the written aspect where he will be knocked down because he doesn't have that confidence to portray his feelings and ideas without worrying that they're wrong.

I really wish I had had him last year - although his friend A who I had in my Y10 class last year was a tutu bum and barely did any work and so if A and B were both in the same class it may have been chaotic haha - although highly entertaining and enjoyable I'm sure - this year however A has completely astounded me - and broken every single thought I ever had of him being a tutu bum. Why? Because over the summer holidays he matured, he now shows focus and a willingness to learn. He tells B off a lot and tells B to listen to me and that "Nah G, she's all good." Particularly the day when I explained to B that his vocab is true to him - and that when I go home I speak like that too. It's hard to break from tradition and what comes naturally sometimes.

In essence, I'm proud of both of these boys.

For this reason - I tend not to give assessment data early in my classes - mainly because it breeds negativity and it makes my students instantly place themselves on a NAME scale and forces those who happen to get an N or for some an A to feel like they're never going to get any better.

What I'm getting at overall though is that not every student has mind-blowing data-altering success. And they shouldn't have to. Some students go far and beyond their initial data proving abilities... and yet the majority of my students tend to do well - because every student has their own success - no matter how 'big' or 'small' it may be. It's still successful. It still makes them feel that little bit taller, and it helps them realise that they can achieve, that they can obtain success.

Breaking: I need to make a better reading log up....

Reflective questions:
  1. How do we see ourselves with our Maori students?
  2. How do we enable our students to feel proud of themselves as who they are - regardless of the data that they are told?
  3. What would our Maori students say about our cultural responsiveness in class?
  4. What would our Maori students say about the way in which we use data in our classes?
  5. What would our Maori students say in regards to how we make them feel proud of their successes, rather than focussing on their failures?

 Important Thoughts and Suggestions for further reflection:
  • We need to assist our students in enabling them to feel more confident in who they are as individuals and as Maori students.
  • We keep telling them that they need to achieve better because of the data - but how can they if we don’t show them how?
  • We need to enable our students to feel proud of themselves by being proud of our students ourselves.
  • We need to be the leaders. We need to make them feel that they can do this. Consistently encourage them. By not allowing their fixed mindsets to stop them from achieving to the best of their abilities. 
  • We need to make them feel proud of who they are - but not to the detriment to them holistically. We shouldn’t merely encourage them for one set of skills - for example sporting abilities to be all that they are.
  • Believe in Maori achievement in life, not just in school.
  • Help them feel proud - Culturally, holistically, spiritually, mentally, physically - every which way so that they believe that they can achieve.
  • We need to consistently challenge our own mindsets and make sure we are not deficit theorising towards any of our students.

Strategies to Implement and Improve Maori achievement:
Building on Success (BOS) Programme

The Data

To Sum Up

We are in 2014 and STILL fighting the equality battle. It's time we looked at how we are using this data and how it impacts on our students, our teachers, our schools and our communities - because if we consistently force-feed data then we will get used to seeing data as more important than actual real student achievement - whatever that achievement may be for a particular student.


The Presentation

Excuse the 52 "Ummmm...."'s 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Conference-d Out!

Wow. Awesome experiences this last week. SO lucky I was able to go to both the PPTA Maori Teacher's Conference and the NZATE English Teachers Conference - and also lucky that both were in Rotorua this year :)

Update to come...

Just writing up some thoughts for the presentation tomorrow at CLESOL.

Oh and... I won the First Time Presenter's award. Wow. So humbled and honoured.

To explain the awesomeness... here are the links for the Storify's from the conferences I attended this week past.

PPTA Maori Teachers Conference - #huarahi14

NZATE English Teachers Conference - #NZATE #MythandMagic14

CLESOL Community Languages and English as a Second Language - TeachMeetNZ Session

Update: 27th July 2014

During the holidays, I attended four conferences, presented at two.

PPTA Māori Teacher's Conference 2014

When? 6th-8th July 2014
Where? Sudima Hotel, Rotorua
Cost? Generously paid by my Region as the Establishing Teacher Representative

This was my first ever Māori teacher's conference and it was absolutely amazing. I learnt so much, met so many amazing people, was blessed by the advice and offers of guidance and mentoring by so many new friends and leaders.

The Keynote speakers were amazing:
* Dr Selwyn Katene
* Tu Toa Kura
* Mana Potential Model by Angeline Greensil?
* Te Ururoa Flavell
* Hekia Parata

Dr Selwyn Katene was easily my favourite. Not only is he related to us, but he taught us about leadership and the many rangatira we once had and how the different styles and theories of leadership truly make an impact on us as we lead ourselves, our kura and our students.

He talked about the 19th and 20th century Māori leaders and how they affected their respective areas for example:

The theories he mentioned and discussed were:

The leader I most want to aspire to be like from the theories and leaders he mentioned are:

Tu Toa kura is run by ... who has literally worked his way from a sports... to creating a school for sports down in the Manawatu area for Māori kids. He talked about having... as his mentor and of the way that ... went to schools around Romania to try and find gymnasts for his Romanian Gym club - on being escorted out by the security guards at one school - he saw two girls doing cartwheels and asked them whether they went to his testing session - and they said they didn't because they weren't allowed. He asked them if they wanted to come along to his gym and have a go at gymnastics. One of those girls was Nadia...

... mentioned this to highlight the fact that if our students aren't being given the opportunity for success, how can they possibly succeed? ..

He then talked about his journey into tennis with his whanau and the talk he had with Te Atairaangikahu about the importance of bringing tennis back to our Māori people as it used to be a prominant sport for us - even with grass courts back in the day.

He talked about his journey in creating the indoor tennis dome facility where he could train his own and the Tu Toa kids in tennis regardless of the weather. Rhe story he described of the Japanese businessmen's approval and admiration of the dome was incredibly inspiring - and of course funny at the end: ...

He also told us of the school he then created as an addition to his own house and now has become increasingly large. He discussed the statistics and results and while yes they looked good, he said that he had a conversation with one woman.. about the internal assessments which made him re-think when he found out that his kids and the others at the school were being dripfed rather than assessed properly. He was told by the lady to make sure his students are going for the external assessments and that the quality of those is more important than the internal assessments. This korero has stuck in my head for three weeks now. Important!

We were lucky enough to learn about the Mana Potential Model

Te Ururoa Flavell was hilarious. He asked us for a volunteer and we all voted and chose Johnny Waititi - there are some great pics on the Storify of him and Te Ururoa laughing and going through the skit on how parliament and the government works and how the policies are made and why it's important to be enrolled for the next election.

He said that he could have stood there talking about the Māori party but chose instead to inform us more indepth about how parliament works, how the seats are chosen and the enrolment and voting process etc.

Of course he did it in the best way possible - leaving us all in stitches of laughter and tears from crying so hard at Johnny's responses he had to say as part of the skit. Crack up!

The panels were equally amazing:
* The Rangatahi (youth) Panel
* The Experienced Teacher's Panel

The workshops I went to were great:
* Mana Potential Model
* E-Learning and Flipped Learning by

NZATE English Teachers Conference 2014
'Myth and Magic'

Workshop Presentation: 'The Twittersphere' or my new title 'Using Twitter as a Teacher'

When? 9th -11th July 2014
Where? John Paul College, Rotorua
Cost? Paid by my English department and school :)

CLESOL Community Languages and English as a Second Language
TeachMeetNZ Session - via Google Hangouts on 'Maori as Achievers'

When? 12th July, 11am?
Where? Victoria University, Wellington


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Blog Lurkers...

Hello! Yes you there!

Welcome to my blog. I hope you find it interesting :) I love that you have found it here nice and safely.

Would you like a cup of tea or a cold drink while you read? Refreshments are in the kitchen.

I really do love your company. It makes me happy that people are reading it.. and I hope it's engaging, useful or perhaps fodder but maybe interesting in some way? Just recently 114 of you from New Zealand read my blog or at the very least came to the site itself. Even more than that came from America in the past two days!

I would love to connect with all of you. If you have read a post or been watching the madness and reflections as they come - it'd be awesome to see how many of you have enjoyed my posts.. or not - that's okay too :) I'd love to read your comments! What would you guys like to see more of?

If you are happy being a lurker - lurk away. If you might try to come out of the shadows... please comment or even follow me on Twitter and connect that way!

Statistics don't tell me who I'm affecting. Are you teachers or students or are you robots from the future sent back to find out what it's like to be a teacher in this frustrating age between traditional teaching and the digital divide to digitally being citizens and using technology as effectively as breathing. Can you even breathe robot?

Forgive the crazy and the robot talk. It could very well have been Vampire talk... particularly after 'What We Do In The Shadows' ... which I watched with TC tonight and her husband. Absolutely amazing and fangtastic mockumentary!

Its 12am I must be lonely... or is the line .. 2am? Anyway. It's late. There are two days left of school for term 2. Had a brilliant day today and even better one yesterday :) Things are getting underway. Though think a trip to the bank is in order so I can go to ULearn14!! And.. yep.

So excited for next week ... three conferences! NZATE presentation is nearly finished just need to do the CLESOL one!

So to the blog lurkers:
What's your name?
What country do you live in?
What is one interesting thing about you?
What have you enjoyed/not enjoyed so far in my blog?
What is your occupation?
Hobbies, passions, where you see yourself in five years time.
What you think about the impending Zombie apocalypse and the robot invasion...
And lastly why you keep coming back to this blog?! :)

Thanks guys and gals :)


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

What happens when we talk about culture and what is important to us.

Just had the most intense conversation with one of my Y11 students. He should be in politics. He needs to speak his mind more often at those hui because it's eating him up. I suggested he write a blog.

I originally thought he should be a teacher. And perhaps he should. But think he has so much potential he could do anything.

I need time to process all of that.


So it's now at least five hours since that conversation and it's still processing at the back and perhaps now forefront of my mind.

When you talk to someone that passionate about what's troubling them.. it's hard not to become overwhelmed. When you understand their point of view and completely see where they are coming from and even agree with them it's even harder. What's even more so harder is the realisation that you don't have the right answers to fix the problem. That no amount of counselling or sage advice or personal experiences can stop that kind of pain.

What's troubling is that there are a huge majority of people in our country, even in this city who still don't get it.

I truly wish I had recorded that conversation. Powerful. Eloquent. Everything you'd expect of a year 13 speech. This kid is Y11. And he's an amazing orator. Strongly spoken and passionate. He will be a great leader for his people once they realise they should be listening to him as well.

We had originally been discussing the flag on my car from the door knocking I had done earlier in the weekend. We were outside the class at this point, before the class even started. A few others asked similar questions, particularly my stance on the Eastern Arterial Route. My response came from a merely political viewpoint.. that the govt will throw money to the regional councils in order to get a vote and that even if the other party do get in... there will still be a huge chance of the route/bypass happening anyway.

That was it. All that I had said.

So the lesson began. Most kids were doing their work. Eventually I noticed that one of my star pupils ... who normally has such an indepth viewpoint of the world and the themes and history which deepens his entire analyses in essays and discussions.. seemed close to tears. I asked him if he was ok. He said he was fine. I asked if he needed to talk he said there was nothing to talk about. Asked him if he was sure once more and he looked at me blankly. Asked him to come outside and talk. He didn't want to but he did.

And when he was outside he didn't stop.

There's something about the way I allow my students to express themselves that makes them feel comfortable to get their issues off of their chests. Sometimes its as simple as asking them if they're okay because they look like they've been or are about to cry. Sometimes they just need a talk outside. Sometimes they need a bit of prodding to get them started... and nearly every time I am able to make them feel comfortable with then going to the school counsellor to further talk it through. I never used to be okay with referring it on... particularly as a new teacher in my first year when I thought I could save the world... or at least my own students in my classroom... single - handedly.

Today I didn't have any answers.

I had budget advice. And I have yet to find the truth in this topic for myself. Because I know exactly what he was talking about.

And he's right. It goes back to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Souls crying. As he said.

50 years on and 'they' still haven't listened. As he said.

At the end of the day the raruraru continues. The land confiscation through now 'appropriate' law continues. The continual ripping and prodding of Papatuanuku continues. When will it end?

When will enough be enough? As he said.

When will 'they' stop taking? We give and give and what will there be left for our people? Nothing. And it still won't be enough. As he said.

The moment when he referenced the beautiful waiata from the haka roopu in the school wharenui made my skin go cold. Because he's right. When is enough.. enough? Til there isn't anything left?

He talked about cultural appropriation.. not that he knows that term yet. But he knows it at its very core.

He mentioned the urupa and the pou he dug into the land to help keep that whenua protected.

He said that he will never give up fighting. And so he should. Because it's worth fighting for.

It made me think about how easily I gave up in many things when at home. How proud I was that our land was turned into a massive shopping mall which I suppose is better than being blown up constantly. And was proud that as a tribe we were making money. I was proud of our beautiful tribal building where I went to drop off my grant applications and scholarships.

I fight. But have hidden that passion. I don't let it come out anymore because I'm scared it will be hit down again and again by those who continue to take advantage of what I stand for and for what I believe in.

I accept stuff I shouldn't have to accept and what's more I allow confrontations to happen with my meek little voice accepting whatever that person says.

Why? Because I'm scared.

That the world will once again be ripped out from under my feet. That maybe my values aren't solid or strong enough. That maybe people will mock me for them or that I'll not be on the popular side of history... or the winning side. Whichever way you choose to see it.

I told my student to blog. To get it out of his system so that he can understand his views and so that he can share them with others. So that he doesn't have to risk going against tikanga by standing at a hui to portray his views and perspective. So that his tuakana can see a youth perspective. If he spoke the same way to rc then maybe this wouldn't happen.

Perhaps he is just one person. But as he said... his tupuna will be standing there beside him and his whanau.

Even if its him still standing there with his tokotoko, walking up that hill as an old man, he said, he will still not give up.

Absolutely astounded. Like hearing MLK and Whina Cooper and Te Puea all in one. So impressed.

He best maintain his anger by using his words rather than his fists. He needs to express this stuff more often because its eating him up. The pain is crushing him. And he needs to discuss it.

I'm thankful he talked with me. We could have talked for hours and still not gotten anywhere because that's the reality of this kaupapa. When you have no control and you have only truth and fight... then you discuss and make your point stronger still until it is infallible. Until there are no more loopholes to mend.

I really hope he becomes a lawyer or a teacher or a politician. So much potential. I hope he realises it.

And I hope he took my advice to start writing his thoughts down. So that he can share without risking breaking trust of whanau and hierarchical systems.

Ka mau te wehi e tama ma.

Nga mihi nui ki a koe mo to whakaaro, me wairua, me korero..  Ka haere koe ki te maunga teitei.. ki nga whetu. Aim high kiddo. And don't let the thought that what you have to say isn't valuable or isn't enough. Kia kaha. Kia manawanui.