Saturday, 1 July 2017

Reset Button Needed

Today I read a blog post by my friend Shannon.

This past week has been difficult. A student passed away. That day was also the two week date since my Gran passed away.

It also was the week I unlocked my six years of teaching achievement :)

About this time of year is when I start remembering the bad stuff that always seems to happen at this time of year. This time of year was also when I first started teaching. I remembered my six week anniversary this time while driving the Kēmu YES business group to their next meeting. They were proud of me too. :)

Back to Shan's post though.

She mentioned the need to fight for your own passion. Mine, like hers (she's beyond inspirational and so incredibly awesome.... there's not enough words to truly ever convey just how much she meant to me as a uni student and now too as I see her resetting her sights on her dreams), is always writing. Writing for a purpose.

It's the thing that comes so naturally for me but in the last year or so there's been a block there. Maybe because I needed to get to this point to truly appreciate how easy it is for me to write and to make my writing actually have real meaning.

I've written a lot over the years. Diaries since I was five, blogs since I was 14 and this particular blog that was started six years ago when I began teaching. Recently I got into bullet journalling. My mind is currently racing behind the typing scenes as I try to figure out what next months spreads will look like.

I'm all about modelling behaviour when it comes to learning new things. Part of my modelling has been lost as my frustration has taken over. My inability to create real, lasting change. Without a management unit or the 'respect' given as a result of those time allowances... it's hard to truly help change things. I've drifted along this year. Just trying to reset things for myself, in my class, in my teaching life, at home and within myself.

With writing though, it's always there. Writing competitions help. So do sitting down or in my case right now, laying down and waiting for the electric blanket to heat up. Sometimes I can just make up pieces of writing as I speak in class. Those times I wish I'd record myself because they're quite cool pieces of writing and always leave my students quiet and in awe haha

Writing used to be my way of sharing my passion of teaching. My real passion though I guess is helping people. To learn, to grow and to achieve in all areas.

My learning recently has been to enjoy the moment. Be there. Aware. And help myself.  So I have been. Trying at least. It is difficult to stay positive always and ensure that my learning continues. Whichever direction I go I will end up wherever I'm meant to be.

I also need to stop comparing my amount of blog posts to previous years. Some years there will just be more to write about! Other times the learning I am doing will take precedence, as it has this year, causing my lack of writing as I process things.

Big passion still... youth centre with ability to uplift our kids and our community.

Also... change the world and build a network of people to work together to ultimately empower and lift positivity of all those on Earth.

Just want to find myself again this year. I lost my way a wee bit back there... and redefining who it is that I want and need to be.

For those interested in reading Shan's piece- click here

Sunday, 18 June 2017

For Gran

This past week, you took your last breaths. You said last goodbyes to those who visited you and asked for help from those who were meant to care for you.

You were the one person I could truly talk to. Open up to. Share my thoughts, feelings and ideas with. I can do this with my Nan too but it's just different.

I already am craving ginger refreshers and those marmite onion toasty thingys you'd make us. The lolly jar and the biscuits you'd keep for us when we came to see you.

The butterflies on the wall of your house. The photos that showed the years I missed out on and the years I was a part of.

The way you just seemed to understand how I felt and could give a simple explanation and wise words to help get me through the next struggle.

I said today that we better be having some awesome korero in my dreams from now on. ❤❤❤❤

All I could think of today was singing Whakaaria Mai and saying the words, 'presented with'... perhaps the last words you heard on your way to the hospital for the last time.

Gran... no more pain. No more hospital checks or stays. No more being stuck in a small space. You're free, finally. After all those struggles. You are truly a warrior Gran. You are an inspiration. You led by example, helping us along the way.

This week, we said our farewells. Played your favourite music. Remembered the best times with you. We shared our memories and I wonder what will happen next with us, without you.

But you're still with us. The smell of your White Diamond perfume and wearing your watch I'd bought you before your last surgery.

The memories, the love and guidance.

The way you could bring complete peace at a moment's notice. Somehow. How did you do that?

I still have a lot of questions. I guess I'll have to wait til later to discuss in more depth.

I hope you were proud of me when I did the first reading for you during your requiem mass. Your coffin was so pretty. Truly. The funeral directors made you look so pretty too.

It was so good being able to sit by you again. To sleep close and send our love to you. To watch everyone and enjoy being with them. To know that I have a place with them, even without you there to make me feel wanted.

I realised just before that I haven't been writing in this blog for a long time. I've had a mental block and possibly even a spiritual one where I've told myself certain things that aren't true.

I need to write more. I have more stories to share. I have more people to help. But like you probably know, I need to work on myself first.

With all the love and positivity I can send out in one small bubble of hope...

Love you Gran xxx

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Drop In Centre - Planning for Passion and Direction Forward

For a while now I've been wanting to open a drop in centre for our youth. Our youth are hungry - hungry for love, encouragement, appreciation, guidance, direction and of course, kai.

We have an incredible amount of services here in Rotorua. I don't know much about how they all work together - I know that they must do - but surely there is a step missing.

I think my plan is the step missing.

We have an incredible youth centre in the middle of town. They have great programmes and opportunities for our kids. The majority of these programmes cost money though and our kids don't often have the money to do them, let alone a bus fare there.

For our kids out here - there is very little direction and focus. Not much to keep them busy. Therefore, those that do get into trouble, will.

Our youth don't have many positive role models. There is an awesome organisation called Big Brothers and Big Sisters which now have a branch here in Rotorua. The last time I researched though they only catered for the primary and intermediate aged kids.

There is an awesome group of people doing sports in the suburbs and keeping our kids out of trouble.

Our youth need more support in staying busy and finding their passion. At our schools we have different clubs and sports for those inclined. There is and always has been a massive group of kids who don't have a direction, no focus and definitely no support towards their goals.

Our youth need mentoring. They need support and encouragement.

There are so many services helping the kids. I just am unsure whether the services are catering all the kids out there.

An audit needs doing - to figure out what services are being used, what services are even out there.

I need to figure out how best to decrease the amount of youth in youth prison and ensure better outcomes for all youth.

My plan has and always will be a drop in centre. But there's more to it. It needs to be an overarching programme that works with all of the other people to create positive, supportive and more direct support.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Whitewashing...

This reading absolutely broke me this morning. Check it out.

Nicole Brown: 'I'm sorry I white-washed your world: A letter to my daughter'.

Living with Dyscalculia

OMG. Dyscalculia. This. Awesome video.

If you've ever driven with me you'll know a few things: I can't figure out lefts and rights, I have trouble with depth perception so I either drive really far away from the person in front of me (therefore holding everyone else up behind me) or stay on the tail of the person in front and I have trouble understanding maps - where North is on the map or where I am in relation to a map.

Dyscalculia has seriously made me think I'm dumb for a massive portion of my life. My 4th form maths teacher told me I'd never achieve anything in life because I couldn't do maths. I have always had trouble remembering timestables and 'basic' math stuff. I can't tell the time properly on an analogue clock and forced myself to learn what I do know now. In fact - I only really figured it out when I began learning te reo Māori because it was in a different language and it made sense somehow. As a result I am nearly always late because I never know how long it will take for me to do something. Because... maths. I just can't... no matter how hard I try.

Dyscalculia is a learning disability. It is seriously misunderstood. It is similar to Dyslexia in the sense that Dyscalculia means you can't figure out numbers.

Anyway -- here's the link:

Living with Dyscalculia

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Social Studies: Relevant, Purposeful Learning

Today we had a truly relevant, realistic, just-in-time learning experience with a student who had been on FB during our lesson and told us that there had been an attack on concert goers at Ariana Grande's concert in Manchester.

We stopped what we were doing, searched it class, discussed the issue and possible impact this might have on the experience of refugees if they are blamed.

This student then said, "I can't believe that happened 30 minutes ago Miss. Right when we were learning about sustainability."

Moe mai ra to those who were killed today, and every day. Thank you for opening the eyes of my students and encouraging them to fight harder as activists.

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 :)