Thursday, 31 July 2014
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.
Monday, 28 July 2014
Friday, 25 July 2014
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 :)
ConferencesPPTA 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
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
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
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
- 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
Sunday, 20 July 2014
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.
Kupu o te Ra - Word of the Day - Sign up to register for an emailed kupu hou each day!
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
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.
Monday, 14 July 2014
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
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.
Saturday, 12 July 2014
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 :)
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.
- How do we as Maori stop ourselves from achieving?
- How do I as an individual achieve to the best of my ability?
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....
- How do we see ourselves with our Maori students?
- How do we enable our students to feel proud of themselves as who they are - regardless of the data that they are told?
- What would our Maori students say about our cultural responsiveness in class?
- What would our Maori students say about the way in which we use data in our classes?
- What would our Maori students say in regards to how we make them feel proud of their successes, rather than focussing on their failures?
- 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.
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.
Friday, 11 July 2014
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
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
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.