Our Small World Tokelau

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Back to school for our teachers only day

Travelling to work today, I was both excited and apprehensive as to what the new year would hold for us staff.  This would be my 18th year of driving to Tamaki College, which is almost (well nearly but not quite) half my life!  Although the roads are all too familiar, it felt like I was starting a new chapter today, one of a renewed enthusiasm and passion that over recent years has been lost a bit in the hum drum of familiarity and complacency.

I greeted old staff like family, making small talk and sharing sighs of lovely holidays had - my catch phrase was 'I was horizontal most of the time', which I thought was funny at first but then sounded a little suspect the more I thought about it.  Seeing the glow in everyones face was refreshing and when I think about the end of last year, I weirdly think of a huge sun bed that everyone escaped to for 6 weeks and that we won't see again til December.

I see big smily faces and ones that look thoroughly engaged in conversation - ahhh the new staff.  There's 11 of them in total this year and as most of them introduce themselves, they echo 'I will need help'...and I think 'you've come to the right place'.  As an old staff member, I feel it's our responsibility to support our newbies - the new and the old, guiding each other through the Tamaki College journey.

I have 2 new members of my department who are both beginning teachers and are taking on senior classes.  I know they felt overwhelmed with information overload today (as to be expected) but being the motherly figure style leader that I am, I will wrap them up, guide them with as much as I can, then let them fly, fly, fly...much like I would with our kids.

My inquiry this year is partly based on making smoother transitions for our year 9's (I want to call them babies, but I know they'd hate that) or young people.  We struggled for a whole term last year to settle them down and this year I want to work towards ways of engaging them more in their learning and wanting to be at school.  Research shows that they come equipped with skills and expectations that we at the college aren't quite meeting and I feel it's our responsibility to find out how to make it better for them and for us!

At our staff meeting, I presented these (and other) facts to our staff, to give them insight into how our babies would be feeling when they start tomorrow.  Overall, our day went well.

Tomorrow our year's 9 and 13's start school together and meet our staff - the new and the old, guiding each other through the Tamaki College journey.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Manaiakalani Orientation Day - my first blog!

This is my first blog for the year, 2017...wait, hold up, it's my first blog EVERRRR!

I wanted to start blogging regularly and properly as a teacher within the Manaiakalani family seeing as the learners in front of me are expected to blog so here I am, giving it ago.

A bit of background about myself.  I have been teaching at Tamaki College for (wait for it) over 17 years!! What a journey it has been.  If I had to write a novel for every adventure I'd had whilst at Tamaki, I'd be a millionaire (that's saying people would by my books of course).  The teaching journey has been exciting and being part of the shift from paper and pen to one to one digital teaching and learning has been like taking a rocky pathway and slowly smoothing the way.

This year, I will be one of 4 Community of Learner (CoLs) 'within schools' teachers at our school, who will work alongside our staff with various programmes and initiatives.  As part of the CoL's, we needed to attend the Manaiakalani orientation day which gave us an overview of the programme.  To be honest I needed a refresher and as Dorothy said 'what do you say when someone asks you what is all of this Manaiakalani programme about??' (side thought: why not get all of our staff to have a day like this at the beginning of the year?).

After the first session talking about the WHO we are, I was amazed at the amount of people and groups invested in the programme, invested in us!  It made me realise how important of all this was especially for our kids.  The rest of day was really refreshing and it was awesome to hear all of the exciting stuff that goes on behind the scenes too, the opportunities that staff have available and the ability to create connections in and between schools.  Bring on 2017!!!

(The naughty ones always sit at the back!)