Thursday, 18 May 2017

A reflection on refurbishment and liberation

Late last term our new classroom was ready to be moved into.

After the efforts we had last year in E9 painting it and making it look better... only to find out it was going to be refurbished in the holidays... it was incredibly amazing to move into this new classroom - E7.

Now my initial thoughts were that this class would still have lots of sad and potentially negative vibes in it - due to the previous inhabitant who had over time lost her passion for teaching, was unwell and has recently left the profession after decades of dedication and undying love and care for her students.

With the refurbishment, this vibe just wasn't there anymore. The class itself had been made noa after the refurb and it was ready and welcomed us in. We have had incredible lessons so far, even yesterday with the couple of incidents in Y11, and the students appreciate our new space so so much.

This particular post is based on how liberated I feel with not having or needing a teacher's desk.

It's 5am. I should be asleep but I'm still thinking about how lovely and transformative the simple act of not asking for a teachers desk has been.

The caretakers asked a couple times if I needed one - but nope. I'm quite happy without it. Here's why:

* Our new class has heaps of storage in the backroom and in the shelves behind the whiteboards and the cupboards below the whiteboards. There is no need for everything to be piled up on my desk anymore as everything has a place. Students know where to collect things from and freely do so now. They have become a lot more independant in this way.

* Every single moment of the day, I'm interacting with my students. I'm asking them questions and digging deeper into their understanding and perspectives. I sit with each student or group, based on how the class is arranged.

* I'm not tied to a desk and so I'm able to move about the class and am forced to because there is no place that I can sit idly. When I did have a desk, it would become my source of power and control. I would sit there and bark orders or students would come to me. Albeit, if it's been a strenuous day or I'm lacking energy, I do still choose a table to sit at in class, still with a group of students and do some marking or have students come to me and ask questions. Now that I'm not tied to one place, it makes the source of good teaching - me again. I am not the desk. I am me.

- For now, that's what I can think of. I'm sure there's more but now it's 5.30 am and I'm getting tired again finally. Thoughts spilled back onto the blog. Hopefully everyone is doing well.

Will upload pics of the refurb :)

Monday, 3 April 2017

It's been a while...

Arohamai whanau.

It's been a long while since my blog post.

Since then, I've started again on my reo Māori journey at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa studying Te Aupikitanga ki te reo Kairangi - a Level 6 Diploma in te reo Māori.

Since then, I've dealt with several issues from students and have been working on finding positive and achievable solutions with them.

Since then, I've been working on focussing on the students in my class and not over exerting myself. This seems to look like I'm not participating much of giving of myself... but truly, I am just redirecting my energies into being the best classroom teacher possible. Perhaps after today's ICT sessions with my colleagues I might get back on that particular waka.

Since then, I have bought a himalayan salt lamp and it has done absolute wonders for my sleeping and breathing clean air at home. Next - to buy one for school.

Since my last blog post, we've moved into our new classroom! All done up, refurbished and looking incredibly beautiful. Weird way to describe a classroom but it truly is. And what's more we are all really appreciating the environment we now have. Despite one student with his inappropriate use of a wire and the multiplug... and another student dropping chewing gum into the new carpet today as well as a broken pen... which with the help of an icepack and sanitiser gel... we managed to get both out as much as possible.

Since then, I've taken our Heights Pasifika roopu to our community festival and begun to make plans to build up Heights Pasifika at our kura.

Since that blog post... I've stepped into the role as Bay of Plenty Regional Chairperson for PPTA.

Since that blog post, I've redirected my social life into Young and Local - a group of truly positive and supportive young people here in Rotorua.

Since that post, my grandmother (Dad's mum) had a second amputation and even with all her morbid humour, I still can't quite say with jest that she is now legless. She is doing well. No news is good news at least.

Since that last blog post, I have been warrior, mum, aunty, sister, student, friend and support person to a lot of people. It can be quite draining.

I must remember to focus on what is most important, self-care, my health and prioritising my students learning over the learning of my colleagues. Who... at the end of the day have begun to seek me out now that I've stopped offering my help so much.

Mia and Zo are doing well too :)

Friday, 17 February 2017

A Week on from All in Day

A week on and I can't say much just yet. But what I will say is thank god our kids are well practiced in our safety procedures.

I've written a post elsewhere that I will share once everything has calmed down a bit more.

Just so glad our kids are okay.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Importantce of Whakawhanaungātanga

Did this really cool thing today in Y11 English. This was the last of my classes to meet... and I was slightly nervous about this particular class. All bar 3 in dark blue senior shirts. Surprising how much of an attitude change in our Heights kids already!! :) Anyway - got them to write 'Whakawhanaungātanga' in the backs of their books.

We broke the phrase down into more manageable parts. Underlined whanau. Circled Ngā. Whanau = family. Whanaungā = relations. Whanaungātanga = the way we do things with relations/whanau, what is acceptable/tika. Whakawhanaungātanga = to build and create relationships.

When I heard bits of muttering I very quietly, but calmly said, "If you feel uncomfortable learning te reo Māori in an English class, just be patient, you'll see why in a minute."

I talked about the importance of whakawhanaungātanga, particularly at y11. Because not only do we have to learn to understand ourselves, but enable ourselves to relate to others, inside the classroom and outside too.

Then students shared some things about themselves with their peers in the groups they were sitting in. I got them all to stand up in a massive circle and share their name and two things about themselves with the whole class. They all did. Some quicker than others. Nearly every kid in that class mentioned their pets. Way cool. I shared some stuff too and then got them all to sit again.

From there, they began the traditional intro letter I'd had all my other English classes do.

Beginning from full whakawhanaungātanga just felt so much more right. Beautiful.

Monday, 30 January 2017

EduSpark Group - Needing to Evolve our Education System

An incredibly awesome and talented colleague of mine just messaged me on FB and added me into a group of like minded people that he's created, called EduSpark.

His video is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/248311075592957/permalink/248579055566159/

Check it out if you are interested!

After watching Campbell's video it reminded me about one of the main goals I had when I started my teaching blog- the evolution of teaching and my teaching practice. It's in the very name of my blog.

Over the past couple of years my evolution and imagination in teaching has dragged slowly. I haven't been my normal, excited, innovative self. Well, compared to when I first started teaching. But I guess with any evolution there needs to be trial and error. I've had my time for that... now I need to get back on track and refocus on evolving my practice and being a better kaiako for my students.

A good thing too as school starts tomorrow!

All holidays I actually did no schoolwork. If you're an avid fan of this blog, a reader or know about me - you'll know that this is something that is very rare. Because I don't often put myself first. My last blog post shared this frustration, partly because at this point in my life, after the trial and errors of the past two or so years, I've been fortunate to see success. It hasn't always happened with me and my future which is still something I'm working towards, however the search remains a constant and one that many teachers are searching for. That sweet spot where we feel truly passionate, empowered and confident.

After these holidays, I am quite relaxed. I've had time to destress and really focus on me and my own health. I've spent moments of time with my family to varying degrees of success. I've read books in the sun, by the lake, in bed, on the couch! I've watched A LOT of Netflix and movies. I've played with Mia and Zo. I've done a bunch of DIY at home. I've got back into my creative side and remembered what's truly important.

With 12 hours to go before I step foot back in at school, I'm nervous, excited and hopeful. I truly look forward to an incredible year.

With all that comes EduSpark, the regenerative spark to reignite my passion, excitement and hope to help evolve our education system. Together, we stand a chance to make true and lasting, positive change.

Thanks Campbell :)

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Passionate Teacher?

This morning I woke up after a terrible sleep, half missing my sister who I'd dropped off yesterday and half feeling terrible vibes perhaps as a result of seeing mum or having mum here a few days ago, and rushed outside to take the rubbish and recycling out.

I was more grumpy than normal, seeing as recycling used to be my favourite thing about living here in Rotorua. Our recycling centre was simply outstanding. Now we have bins. Not as satisfying doing the sorting, yet still helpful to the environment.

Grumpy I guess because I'd been woken up by a pretty horrendous dream where my mum had put lots of new things I'd bought into the rubbish bin and my old friends from university that I don't talk to anymore but still would like to... helped me break into my apartment building as I'd left my keys inside, where I found a new flatmate - a korean girl - and my friends helped me sort out the stuff my mum had thrown away. Unfortunately that stuff ended up in the middle of The Warehouse and I then had to sort out that mess.

Then I woke up. To take the rubbish and recycling out.

Let me just break the dream down a bit for my sanity.

1. A reminder that mum gets too involved and treads heavy on my soul, chucks things that I'm not ready to be removed from just yet.

2. A greatful thanks to my sister for being here to help me declutter and remove objects in my house that were clogging up my brain and soul and giving me a great setting for a demo video to get onto the Hoarders tv programme...

3. A reminder to take the rubbish and recycling out before the trucks came.

4. My subconcious' way of dealing with difficult issues that I can't quite do in real life just yet. I feel like I need to have trauma counselling done before I can talk to those friends again. Mainly because they are triggers to that trauma and because they still associate with those that caused the trauma.

5. My mum still has a hold over me. I can't quite get rid of all of it until my sister is older and then she can't use it against me.

Regardless... once I'd done all that... I got an email from a friend who had been thinking of me and saw a job on Seek. Clicking the link, I saw that the MindLab is looking for a new facilitator on the West Coast near Nelson and Blenheim.

It asked for a passionate person. That was the first thing that stopped me. The second was the need for a masters and 8 years of teaching experience. Both of which I don't have. Hopefully the right person applies because it would be awesome to have the MindLab down there!!

Back to the passionate thing.

I don't know whether it's because I woke up tired, grumpy, dealing with sub-concious thoughts in my dream... but I don't know whether I'm still that passionate teacher. I struggled most of last year to find my place in a changing landscape. Hopefully this year things will be a bit more sorted and I can actually just be me. The passionate teacher I know I am... but still need more sleep. It's 8.34am for god's sake haha

Anyway... random thoughts... a very random post for now. Been a while. Hopefully this clears the 2016 juju on my blogging and I can start writing again properly.