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 :)

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.