Thursday, 30 April 2015

Heights Reflection 2

Second week of allocated time to reflect.

Think I've sorted out 2 of my Y11 inquiry students because our amazing TA Marie works with them one on one and now I have more time to work with the rest of the class.

Yesterday we went over essay structure and breaking down essay questions. I told them that it's going to be easy at this point to see who has been developing their own analysis at this point about their novels and who haven't initiated contact with the characters or themes. Why? Because the students that have been doing the required analysis will breeze through essay question after essay question.

I have a weird idea that I might try this week - start each day with a new essay question and they need to develop main points, find keywords and phrases as well as use the TAKO structure to develop a new intro each day.

I truly believe that by having a strong intro you actually can't go wrong in the essay paragraphs. Because if you have clearly laid out what you will be talking about -your three main points - then it's quite easy to keep coming back to your intro to see what you're talking about next.

The problem I see a lot of the time is students who just start writing and don't like generating ideas or brainstorming. I might also try out +SteveMouldey's (@GeoMouldey) suggestion about idea generating and then choosing the best 3 or 4 ideas to build on.

When I was at school (old kuia in me haha) we were taught brainstorming and mind gym and deBono's hats. There was a lot of effort put into teaching us HOW to think and that thinking was BETTER usually than the end result. Because thinking develops into good practice eventually anyway... if you've thought through the issue enough anyway...

I've continued to do this with my Y11s. I worry that I haven't done enough SOLO scaffolding with them and that I've let them and encouraged them to work at their own pace. I think today I'll get their books in and do a quick check over.

Some students have a really strong fixed mindset that we need to build up into growth mindsets. It's frustrating because the inquiry students need more awhi one on one and with my individualised programme - there is more time - but I still feel it isn't an effective use of my time monitoring and circling and seeing if they need help. Maybe I need to make some sort of system on the whiteboard or just trust that they'll ask for help when they need it.

What I'd like to do is completely flip my class. Yes I keep saying it and yes eventually it will happen.

Have been reading two... maybe three flip your classroom type books and they've really begun to change my own mindset and also enable me to redefine what a flipped classroom actually looks and feels like.

Tweeting Troy Cockrum the other day was probably one of the best moments because he offered me advice and ideas about our Evolving at Heights space and they're really great ideas. I just need to implement them.

Now that we have an online space - I need to create some sort of latest activity link because it's becoming difficult to keep track of what's been done and who's working on what. The WB grids have been helping but I need to make a more clearer way to see what they've been doing and where - maybe use ExitTicket?? Or Google Forms?

What I probably need to do is set up that lesson by lesson table that Troy suggested because then at least on the new Google Doc for each lesson - there would be links to the ExitTicket and also links for learning etc on there. Would also make the transition to flipped learning faster too. It's always systems and processes for me.

For Y12 - today we should all be onto the analysis of their books. Because they're fast learners I'll be working at their pace and we'll be analysing the texts fast so that we have plenty of time to develop their overall analysis in their essays prior to the coming mid term exams.

My inquiry students are working individually, developing knowledge of using GDocs with me and completing work. Some will be coming to lunch this arvo. I like that I chose Thursday as tutorial time because it's the lunch right after the Y12 class.

My other Y12A class have just finished watching the Blindside and have been given three tasks to complete by the end of the week - overall summary of the film, what links they can make between the characters and also what themes are overriding in Mike's life.

We'll continue working on that today.

My Y10 Sost class blows my mind every lesson. Yesterday one of my students P burst into tears after looking at pictures of starving children in Africa as part of her research on her chosen UDHR article. She looked at me and said, "We need to do something!" And so her passion project has begun. Love it. Social change in action is powerful and it doesn't happen until you've made a personal and empathetic connection with it.

My Y10 English class have continued work on their Static Images - we're building on their prior knowledge of techniques as well as their work from last year.

They were given three options as well:
1) Social issue
2) Music CD cover or Artist Tour Poster
3) Company Campaign

And yes - it's noisy and yes it's a little all over the place - but there is real learning happening. Students are showing their understanding of the techniques and showing it in their drafts. Hopefully they'll be finished their good copies by the end of the week (am most likely dreaming haha.) More likely finished by Wed next week.

Am so grateful for our TA Ria because she works with the group of boys that are often off task and by helping them stay o  task, building on their knowledge, pushing them to develop stronger drafts has enabled me to help the rest of the class.

So that's this week so far! More to write soon. Off to school I go :)

Monday, 27 April 2015

Evolution and Imagination - Curated Links on Facebook

For a couple of weeks now I've been slowly but surely decreasing the amount of edulinks and eduposts on my personal Facebook page.

Finally realised that my friends and family, who are mostly not teachers - wouldn’t really be interested... plus - I was posting a LOT of edulinks...

So decided to set up a Facebook page just for edulinks, thoughts on Education etc. Most links that really impress me go onto my Evernote notebooks but for further reading and quick reference and for what I'd like to share with others - I'm putting on this new page.

To carry on with the branding I already have with the blog - I kept the same name. It's easily searchable because of the two words and how most people don't necessarily put them together in one phrase.. and also because I wanted one place for my links - that I could then link to for my RTCs.

So here's the link if you're interested:

I'll also add a direct link above as well.


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Literature Circles with Y11 and Y12 classes

For a wee while now I've been toying with the idea of literature circles. I did them in my first year of teaching without even knowing it was called literature circles. Back then I just figured I was doing something a good teacher would do - offer options and create strong analysis skills in her Y10 students.

Ever since, I suppose the idea of lit circles has been one that I have tried on and off with different classes. I've often tried to use lit circles in order to build a reading culture like with my extension class when I first started at Heights.

This year though - with such a big Y12 class and knowing we had so many new dystopian genre books at Y11 this year - I wanted to try it again. Full throttle.

I'd done quite a bit of research over the summer holidays, read up on different strategies and how to further enable my students to build strong individualised learning skills as well as collaborative and cooperative learning skills.

Links here:

I'd decided that after the two assessments my Y12 (Pink) class would study the three novels we had in the dept by John Green: Looking for Alaska, Papertowns and The Fault in our Stars. Having read all three at the beginning of Term One while still on my holiday reading buzz - I quickly and assuredly decided that my Y12s would definitely be reading these as literature circles.

I gave out the books to students about three weeks til the end of Term One with the expectation that they would be read by the beginning of Term Two. Most students have done so which has been great. While they continue working on the last assessment from last term - those who have finished have begun the analysis.

The clearer focus we have in Y12 has reminded me how I wanted to conduct the literature Circles in my Y11 class.

We initially started the literature circles mid way into last term. About two weeks was given for reading in class because unfortunately, a lot of kids just don't read at home. They're too busy, they are physically unable due to situations at home and sometimes kids just don't like reading.

After that we began the analysis of at least one main character and we learnt basic essay structure with SEXIST paragraph structure and for the last part of term we wrote that essay as part of their ongoing writer's portfolio for the year.

This term we started out okay where I explained that they needed to get back into groups and analyse the main characters again. Some students moaned because they had done this last term. Yes - I assured them - but now after the holidays they would have more to analyse about particular characters as they should all be nearing finishing the book.

On Tuesday, with an excited rush,  rather than do the analysis first and then edit on the site the following week, we brought in a few of the COWs and set up students on the site:

That was a huge issue because of technical issues where I couldn't add students onto the site. They could see it and they could understand what they were looking at but couldn't access it to edit. I asked students to give me their emails and for those who didn't have one to set one up. Part of the issue is that we do not have our students gmail accounts enabled within our GAFE platform - something I've been trying to change since middle of last year. 

On Wednesday, after the happy arrival of the new projector the night before, I was able to show them how to edit the pages on the site. For those that continued to have issues logging in or accessing the site - I logged them in with my password. Some students were able to enter their work - others still not.

We discussed some of the digital citizenship skills that they needed to be aware of when using the site also and when using the COWs.

Still though - some were having basic issues with understanding what it was I was trying to get them to do. A lot of my time was taken up by students who simply refused to even try and others who had continued technical and comprehension issues.

Finally, by Thursday of this week - our last session for Y11 for the week - I had finally accepted the fact that the way I was trying to get them to do it wasn't working. We hadn't set up collaborative skills and while I was trying to be patient with them - it just wasn't working. Knowing that it does work and it wasn't really the student's faults I had to really critically examine what was working and what wasn't.

Some students had figured out what I wanted them to do because I had worked with them one on one. Other students just didn't know what it meant to analyse a text.

So I went back to basics. I had apologised throughout the week with the issues around the technical aspects (because by Wednesday afternoon I'd realised that the reason they couldn't access it they way I'd set up the settings with was because they didn't have school emails for GAFE to work right) and also because I hadn't set up the collaborative skills side too.

This time I wrote up the different books we were all studying and went through four different areas of possible exam questions. We brainstormed the different themes, main characters, symbols and settings. We talked about the fact that each one has significance and needs to be further developed.

I set up the four aspects into a grid with the texts - with the idea that students would put their name by a different area they were going to work on today. I added quotes up as well.

Pic -

Finally - I think they were starting to get it. With our amazing teacher aide Marie, I was able to move around the groups a hell of a lot easier because she was working with the one student who was obstinate and needed full on one on one to motivate and continue working.

At first I was going to get students to do their analysis just in their books as originally planned - but agreed to have some students working on the COWs again. Somehow - the settings I'd changed again and again made it so there were no technical issues other than server logon issues which were fixed by the lifesaving blue ethernet cable.

Moving around the different groups, each student had a particular focus. It's easier to recognise the students who haven't done enough reading because they sit there idly not being able to contribute or work individually. I was able to work with one particular group more easily where we wrote on my DIY whiteboard table (clear duraseal on the table) and were able to identify a more focused understanding of the two main characters in Divergent.

I still have two, maybe four groups who I need to further push but we're finally getting somewhere.

I just wish I'd thought that through a bit more clearly but am glad that it was only a week of technical issues rather than the entire unit of struggling.

Because Thursday was a definite hum.

Explaining to Marie the reasons why I'm doing literature circles with this class reminded me too it's not just about offering options. It's about 21st century pedagogy. The need to practise my knowledge around building collaboration and individual learning skills. The need to enable our students to be ready for a new and exciting life ahead of them. For them to be ready -we practise til we're right and then continue to hone our skills.

Am incredibly thankful to the MLE Collaborative group on Facebook, to the collaboration korero we had on both #EngChatNZ this week on Wednesday night and the #DojoChatNZ as well. To my amazing Y12 students who worked with me collaboratively straight away and to my problem solving brain who hunted for different links and idea generating tools for my classes.

Looking forward to next week now! :)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Heights Reflection

Am having a bit of disconnect between the quality reflection I am already doing on my blog and what I'm expected to do for school. At school we have to focus on an inquiry student.

But I feel like every student is an inquiry student.

At the moment I'm trying to crack three students in my Y11 class: one that just can't seem to understand what I need her to do with the novel analysis and who just closes her book (basically need to teach growth mindset to her and continue working with her - but to the detriment of the other students...though have asked our awesome TA to work with her), another student who has so so many issues going on at home and in her life that she isn't actually 'here' at school because she can't focus on her schoolwork - and refuses to go to a counsellor despite my ongoing pleading, the student who has serious individual learning needs but who brought his laptop in the other day so he didn't have to deal with his "chicken scratch" as he put it - I nearly jumped for joy!! He became the key member of his group which was really cool to see the transition in him as he was able to become the leader - perhaps for the first time ever, the student who isn't asking for help despite our awesome relationaship and her usual willingness to accept my advice and ideas - something must be going on and I just haven't had the time to go figure it out.

Then of course there are my other classes.

Y12L - students who consistently work well but who I am trying to further extend consistently.

Y12A - students who at times give up on themselves because they've been told they're not good enough or that have become to believe it to be true. Other students who try so damn hard and it's absolutely beautiful. One particular inquiry student has finally made some progress!! He was sitting right by me as they were doing their creative writing. He mucked around for a while - but in the end actually wrote half a page. The mucking around was oral brainstorming, playing with the story cubes for ideas and asking me questions about the dream world because we're about to start watchinf Inception. Because we have a projector now!! No more stalling!!! :)

I was so incredibly impressed by them all last lesson. All I gave them was the line, "As I lay my head down on the pillow, all thoughts disappeared." We did a basic idea brainstorm and gave them 20 minutes on the timer. They wanted it extended to the end of the period - and to Friday for some of them to further work on it at home. Completely quiet - all students working. Stoked.

Y10 English - every single student in this class is an inquiry student. The student who worked so hard on his poetry last term and I just hope that he continues to develop his growth mindset towards the rest of his studies this year. I bought him a poetry book by Yeats abd gave it to him on Tuesday. Love how much he's reading. Tye student who is super enthusiastic for 9 square. The students who fight for top spot for 9 square! How to further extend them? Not allow three letter words.

The student who keeps mucking around - talking, being immature... it's good to finally see that the rest of the class are at the point that they don't break into the other two students silly behaviours too. They've finally crossed that point. Looking forward to the rest of the year now!!

Y1p Social studies - my favourite class.
I asked them the other day whether they wanted to have human rights as their focus for rhe year. They didn't get what I meant because partly they must not understand what rights are and also wanted to learn other things. What they'll realise though is that everything comes back to human rights or animal rights.

Showed them an amazing video yesterday after going through 10 of the human rights from the Declaration of Human Rights. Showed them the facebook page I made up for them over the holidays and have been collating different links for them. Helps my personal FB feed too! Less school stuff. The video though - truly hit home. The two inquiry students I've been worried about in terms of their lack of empathy towards the Holocaust - I think that video began to hit home. Homework last night was to look up the different rights that are not being upheld in different countries currently and historically.

So - there. That's just a small taste of the range of inquiries I've been doing.

And it has nothing to do with my personal inquiries.

And furthermore - focussing down on one student - while beneficial - makes me think that I'm not giving adequate time to the other 140+ kids I teach.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thinking ahead - Self Motivation

A mentor recently told me to think of myself as my own HOD. As someone who has responsibility for my growth and who is looking at others and their way of doing things so that when I get into the positions I want in the future - I'll know my own best practice.

She said that she often talks to herself as the other and provides essential feedback and observations.

While this may sound odd - I actually like the essence of it. Because essentially as reflective practitioners we are expected to constantly improve our results - and albeit, game.

So in terms of this -

As HOD of myself:

- Need to email myself the dates for upcoming assessments that are due so that my students have a deadline and that I have a definite one
- Need to print out (gah - paper - trees) all of the forms I need for each assessment and file them into each classes folder.
- Need to get emails of all students (if we aren't moving forward asap with GAFE) so I can update students of their flipped learning site:
- Need to find myself PLD on flipping my class, using GAFE more effectively, enabling staff to feel more comfortable with change and learning, relearning and unlearning to learn again
- Need to encourage myself as often as possible so that I continue to be the best teacher I can be
- Need to watch out for my health and wellbeing and do what Ian Vickers said
- Need to support myself with upcoming opportunities and welcome new ideas into the department (me)
- Need to awhi myself in understanding that there are just things I cannot change despite my very best efforts to agitate and create change

As Mentor for myself:
- Push myself to go for any PLD or opportunity that looks good and offers benefits to my teaching and learning
- Continue agitations at kura so as to make others think about their teaching practices.
- Develop a stronger resilience against those who refuse to change or those who give a cold shoulder to my ideas. Ka whawhai tonu ake!
- Motivate myself to use my time wisely. One non-contact each and every day. Prep. Reflections. Lesson planning. Admin.

Most of all -

Find the beautiful positive in every single day and every moment.

Modern Learning Mindset /Practices

I've just read this amazing post by Steph on Modern Learning Environments or Mindsets and I seriously think that it was just the little oomph I needed to not only restart my blogging engine... but also to start the next term.

A lot of the time I stress out over what I don't have access to... at present the most important is the curtain rail and special metal hooks for the curtains I sourced from the very generous people at the Curtain Bank, functioning projector with a bracket for the roof, access to the COWs on a more frequent basis - or better yet a BYOD policy so my students can learn better....

And of course my classroom. It still frustrates me that this year I'm in the wops but I've made do. I've attempted to make the class have more positive vibes, more light and a relaxed and focussed learning atmosphere. My new red curtains that I put up last term look brilliant against the purple painted walls and the yellow ribbons to tie them up - really set the colours off. I've covered the holes in the back wall with one of the big bookshelves my HOD bought for our class which I'm using to store the student's paper resources and work. The other bookshelf looks fantastic with the class library books that I've collected over the years as well as student's poetry collections.

There is a filing cabinet by my desk filled with resources for students to use throughout the day and for projects.

An entire mini bookshelf for dictionaries too.

Probably the best features of the class are the back wall's new blackboard we painted on with permission from our caretaker which now has a range of different information (apps, class site link, leaderboard etc) in different coloured chalk - this was used mostly last term by students who got the novelty use of it out of the way with their names and drawings; the whiteboard which covers my entire front wall of the classroom which still needs to be set up how I want...; the mural on one side of the wall depicting Maui's struggle with the sun; the trapezoidal tables that can be moved around to create different collaborative groups and also the back section behind our class which was great last term for reading, individualised programmes and for students to utilise to practice their poetry.

I've bought a few beanbags over the last couple years and have a few more covers at home that just need filling with beans.

At the end of the day though - like Steph said in her post - it would be great to have access to the Modern Learning Environments that some of my favourite kaiako mates have been blessed with. Some teachers find MLE difficult as well. I'm always interested in hearing other people's experiences and sometimes I think if they're having a difficult time, then perhaps they're just not doing it 'right'.

But what is the 'right' way?

Collaborative? For sure. Individualised learning programmes? Definitely. Small groups and big group learning? Of course.

But really - is the furniture the be all and end all of this? I don't think so. It's taken me a while to get to this perspective. If you've been reading my blog for a while now you'll know I ruminate for ages before I come to a decision or acceptance of a fact about something.

So - I agree with Steph. It is a mindset. The furniture certainly helps to enable this mindset - but ultimately if you are still using traditional pedagogy and haven't made the shift needed - then the beautiful MLE furniture is redundant.

Yes - I will continue to be in awe from afar of the kaiako and students who have MLE - but am becoming more aware of how my own pedagogy mirrors a MLM - Steph's new acronym - Modern Learning Mindset.

So I shall continue my haerenga... and think about how I'm teaching and whether that aligns with my own goals and how I want to teach and how my students would benefit with their learning.

The hardest part of the journey thus far  has probably been the resistance by some students as they aren't used to change. They've been taught a certain way and it's most obvious when the classroom environment changes, desks are moved around and they don't have 'their place' to sit.

Slowly some have gotten used to changing the setup every so often. At first I was changing it nearly every lesson to find a more suitable setup for the class and the projects done and the differing students. Teaching five classes, three senior, two junior (four English, 1 Social Studies) - the makeup has been difficult to find an easily manipulative setup as well as one that is easy to transform back to default setting.

What's been interesting is my personal attempt at collaboration. What I think I need to do is find a group of people I want to collaborate with and go from there. Instead of getting frustrated at things I just cannot change - I need to find ways in which to work and still stay positive.

Also - need to remember that because of how students have been previously taught - it takes a while to break through and I must be patient.

Even without the projector - I can still teach my way.... it just takes a bit more preparation with having to get class sets printed.

The Google site will help with this eventually... but I need to be patient - something I just am not good with... except with my students!

Structures and processes need to be in place for me to be in a positive mindset - mostly things that I have no control over changing in my school despite my efforts at trying.

So - I just need to continue as one of my mentors said - in my own bubble and focus on my students. Because I just can't change what I actually cannot change.

Regardless - this MLM - is definitely something I can get on board with and something which I will be adopting a growth mindset towards as well. Need to focus on the positives and what I can change in my own classroom. :)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

PLD 2015

Best chat ever tonight w Zeina Chalich.

Cultural Perspectives.

Also - started up first #NETsChatNZ twitter chat tonight too. Was really cool!! :)

Tired. :)

Saturday, 11 April 2015


Probably the scariest thing in my life thus far - walking into my Nan's room to find a fantail flying around in circles.

Standing stock still I pleaded with it to leave. It perched on the curtain rail and looked down at me. As it flew back out the way it had come, through Nan's bedroom door and out through the back door - I fell to the ground in hysterical tears.

It makes me sick thinking about it because I was a complete mess for at least 20 minutes. It's bloody surprising that no-one came in to find me like that actually.

The tohu (sign) of the piwakawaka (fantail) in and of itself is enough. The warning I associated with it too was worrying as Nan still hadn't told me the results from the latest biopsy. She assures me that the results were nothing to worry about but it concerns me because the fantail does not come inside unless there is a reason.

At the same time my Gran was in and out of hospital and I didn't know until afterwards.

I've been back once since then and blew my top at my cousins who are living with Nan and who are not helping her around the house. If the tohu means what I think it may mean - those kids better bloody be there for her in the times to come.

If it turns out to be a different message  perhaps from my Grandfather that he is watching over her - as he was always the birdsman - that would be okay. I just don't know.

Having had just been sleeping on my Nan's bed ten minutes prior to finding the fantail it could have meant for me too.

I don't know.

What I do know is that messages come when you're ready to take them. And that... that concerns me most of all. Whatever may come... I have to be ready for it.

#NETsConf - Inaugural Establishing Teachers Conference 8th-10th April 2015

Will blog more in depth tomorrow... here's a link though to our #NETsConf storify -

Wow. So it's the end of the break now - only tomorrow to go til we're back at school. I still can't quite believe that we pulled #NETsConf off! I was so so worried about lots of logistical things - but once everyone came - my worries dissipated and we could get started.

It was an absolute pleasure meeting and connecting with everyone. It was a great experience for me being on the organising committee - and being the only member of the committee who was at conference - meaning that it became my conference in a lot of ways.

Delegating the waiters to different tables where the delegates kai was placed in front of them; organising the scavenger hunt; participating in the teach with tech panel; collaborating with Blake on a more indepth tech session and collaborative and cross curricular speed dating - had to really be there...

It was invigorating... and tiresome at the same time.

Was stoked that everyone enjoyed Bitchin' Bingo - despite a few people leaving before it started. Though I suppose I didn't really explain what we were doing - part of the surprise I supppse because it just is so awesome. If I'd explained it they all might not have gotten so into it.

I think that there are a lot of areas where we can improve it for the coming conference. I hope after this inaugural one - we'll get funding for the next one.

A week or so before conference we had a very lengthy discussion about our first keynote speaker - one of which I myself was completely torn. I made my position very clear, yet understand why we came to the decision that we did. Unfortunately we didn't go with my suggestion - though I'm glad that there wasn't further issues in regards to negative comments from some members. The alternative keynote speaker was really good - though it was definitely a basics look into the world of coding - mainly because of the wide range of skills and knowledge at our conference.

This is one of the areas in which we will need to be more aware of in future.

What would have been better would have been to run the conference like an Educamp where it is 'unconference' styled - a lot more flexibility in terms of workshops and more individualised and relevant learning.

Also - thinking about who we have coming to conference and catering for their needs.

As a first conference I think we did well. There was a broad range of topics - however our first suggestion of structure for the conference with a wider range of workshop topics was discarded for a more structured programme.

I would have liked to have more activism as a focus and even more time to get to know each other and whakawhanaungatanga.

Having the opportunity to organise this conference was seriously awesome. A huge challenge but totally worth it.

Huge thanks to PPTA Exec for giving us the funds to be able to hold it. We got great feedback and some awesome feedforward as well. Thanks to everyone who came and to those who missed out this year - hopefully we get another chance for another one in the future!

In the meantime - watch out for our off the cuff #NETsChatNZ Twitter chats like this one:

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Long Day...

Probably had one of the worst starts to the last day of term ever today. Had just finished putting on my ankle boots because ir was raining. I stood up to put my laptop on and go sort out the dog's food and then I tripped over my own shoes - because the shoelaces caught on the other shoe's buckles... and fell down on my knees scraping some stuff on the bookshelf. Dog wanting to come see me and me getting angry and not dealing. Poor knee. At least it was the other one and not the one that has issues. Though I suppose both knees will have issues now.

Not the best start.

Late for staff briefing because I was so knackered I slept too long and then fell over and still had to get to school.

Thought that it was the beginning of our Thursday Reflections that was announced previously the day before. I still have this assumption that when things are announced that they'll start straight away... and so I took my laptop in to the staffroom with me - and nope - staff briefing so we must be starting that next term instead.

My mate had her last day today and another mate will be leaving halfway into next term. Happy for them but gutted too. Starting to feel that creeping pressure again.

My Y10s sucked. Mind you it was a combination of my knees still hurting, my form class needing things from me and needing to know where their first class was and having to sort that out and the fact that my phone wouldn't connect to KAMAR or the portal properly and so I had to do it on my laptop and then the KAMAR programme wouldn't start up for ages and then my Y10s were coming in and being all rowdy and noisy and frustrating so I took it out on them - yelled at them to sit down and wait and in a brief moment of clarity I chucked a whiteboard pen to one of my boys to write a 9 square word hunt up so that they could get started while I was still sorting out the kids and then once I finally got my form class students sorted and they'd left I was still relatively annoyed and frustrated and even silly comments couldnt make me laugh just yet and ....

So my students asked what was wrong yet not in a way that would make me destress - but made me more frustrated and gah.

Somehow managed to salvage the lesson despitw one student being consistently rude and expecting special treatment because he'd actually done work yesterday for once and despite my positive recognition for it and the expectation that he must do work and the learning each day - he still reckoned he'd done enough the day before to warrent not doing any today. Gah.

Had my students use the writing prompts - though we'll need to work up to using them properly next time because they barely wrote anything. Some students did brilliant work and others just had such a kb response... it was ridiculous. Missed my pro poet who wasn't there and my other star students. I have a new star too who has consistently pushed her own word challenge limit to 55 now. Well done S!

What frustrates me is that I try different things with this class constantly and while I have success - it's not consistent. It depends on the day and the attitudes and the stuff that happened before school and the weather and who is and isn't in the class. So many damn factors. I just wish it were easier. But it's not.

Because on a daily basis there is a high stress level. High workload level. Expectations to do this side of admin and then this side too. There is never any budging on rules or flexibility of them and it feels so rigid. I feel like I can't see the trees through the fog sometimes... yet other days it's like I can't get enough sun.

The need to be organised with paper is just not my thing. Give me digital copies and I will file them alphabetically, categorically and chronologically. I will send documents back in five minutes when I get the email rather than taking a week or longer because I'd have to re - find the paper you gave me originally and then find a time to sit down and actually write on the damn thing. Oh and of course - walk back and put it in your pigeonhole. And then still be expected to email or KAMAR message you and say I've put it there.

Add to this the pastoral care and restorative chats and restorative justice I do with my students on a daily - sometimes every period basis with my students to ensure that they are here and focussed in my class. And the level of absolute care and empathy but not so much that I'm seen as stepping over some invisible line and ensuring that the paperwork is done in regards to every student who has extra needs and make sure that the class looks nice, welcoming and a place that they want to be in...

And of course - there's that other side of my job... the teaching. The resources and the research and the learning is easily my favourite part. Because when I have the right resource for my students - everything else I've taught them just seems to click.

They get what I'm getting at because I explain in sometimes 3 or 4 different ways to ensure every single kid in the class gets it. They get it because I'm passionate and I fight to help them learn. I want them to succeed. I know they can. I completely believe in them.

The issue comes down to motivation and attitude. Now I will try every damm thing I can think of to get my students engaged. I nearly burnt myself out last year with my Y13 students being their cheerleader all year - encouraging, motivating, reminding, pushing, prodding etc to get them over the finish line let alone with as many credits and finished assessments as possible.

I try to be the best teacher I can be.

I love it when I'm appreciated. Sometimes we just have stink days. I get that. But I can't deal with negative behaviours and attitudes when they're coming at me from all angles - particularly from other staff. Students I can usually deal with.... but today was hard.

I'm glad that my Y12 class was awesome and we had fun making up new mottos for different NZTA ad campaigns and that my Y10 Social Studies class were so engrossed in Schindlers List that I didn't want to end it so early so I could tell them I still wanted them to do their essays over the holidays with the scaffold I'd just finished making... and that my mate had a great end of year party in my class last period with her students and didn't even mind the tidy up either because it's important. And those cards they made for her will be treasured for ages.

Glad to be appreciated by a staff member for showing her how to use WeVideo and email it.

It was a long day. Long term. Looking forward to a sleep.