Thursday, July 30, 2015

He Kaiako

Blog post #4 for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

The key word in Kaiako is ako.  I love this term because it shows that teaching and learning are interchangeable. You cannot be a teacher without being a learner.

I was telling a reliever today about how for my "final" year of Uni I went down to Otago... then I rephrased that because that wasn't my final year and I'm not quite sure I have had my final year yet! (I've been to Uni 4 times now - I either love learning or am quite mad!!!)

I have a thirst for learning, whether formal or informal. I want to know about the new stuff, the "dangerous" stuff that nobody quite knows enough about yet. I also love being a generalist rather than a specialist - I have too many curiosities!

I believe that this is important for my learners to know and see me as a learner too. I get them to teach me things. My current challenge is to learn how to play Lord of the Dance on the recorder.  I have an enthusiastic 7 year old helping me with this challenge.

I have put the challenge out to my students this week to be leaders in te reo Māori.  I told them that I couldn't do it all by myself and I also told them that the drive shouldn't just come from me either. "Yeah that makes sense Miss" they said.  I may know more te reo than them but they have just as much responsibility to keep the language alive.

This kaiako is also off to Educamp Palmy this Saturday, in her own free time to do some more learning.  I will also be sharing some knowledge too.  It is fantastic professional development that really fuels my passion for teaching and will permeate my classroom come Monday morning.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

He Kanohi Matara

Blog post #3 as part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

I don't think I ever set out to be innovative in my practice. Yes, I latch on to new ideas and am an early adopter but I thought that down to me being more excitable than anything. I got labelled as an "innovative tweeter" by Innovate my School which I was a bit embarrassed about, however maybe I need to brace my visionary side?

With the learner at the centre of what I do, I really do hope that I inspire my students to take risks and try new things. I model that by trying new things with them. Sometimes I fail. Modelling failure, I feel, is important.  If we want children to have certain learning dispositions then we need to have those learning dispositions too.  Maybe risk= innovation?

My aspirations for my students come from a place of manaaki and aroha. I really want them to shine at what they do. I acknowledge their strengths and their interests and aim to nurture them. I also want this to filter out to students that are not in my class. I have done several things this year that allow other students to also experience opportunities that develop dispositions.  I have started a code club at school and I use whānau days (year 0-8 groups) to set up activities that are new experiences for most.

One of my biggest achievements in this area of being "visionary" is that I have grown our kapa haka roopu. Originally this was open to year 5-8 students. We now have from year 0-8. Our newest member started school and kapa haka in the same week.  That was pretty special.  The aim of kapa haka for me is to practice whakawhānaungatanga.  I have watched the relationships grow within the school.  Tuakana-teina is evident.  Students have a sense of belonging (mana whenua)  Even today I saw a Year 5 boy playing with Year 2 girls at lunchtime.  They all know each other from kapa haka.  They have shared experiences together including a noho marae.  They are family. They are whānau.

That was my vision... and I'm glad I achieved that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

He Kaiwhakarite

Post #2 of my unpacking of the 7 principles of Tū Rangitira (Leadership) as part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

My current "Kaiwhakarite" (Manager) job at school is managing digital technology and library resources.

This year I have rolled out 36 ipads to the Junior School and 40 chromebooks to the Senior school.  It was almost a year in the making so I did a lot of work behind the scenes to get them ready.  I have also helped implement GAFE (Google Apps for Education) and provide professional development and ongoing support to both staff and students.

The learner is always at the centre of what I do.  I wanted to implement change around digital technology and e-learning practice to benefit my learners.

Tū Rangitira states that:

The key word here is transform.  Transformational leadership is about inspiring others and "walking the talk".  I like to think that I have put in the mahi (work) required to make digital technology successful for everyone and without the need for praise.  I see myself as a role model for e-learning by demonstrating it my classroom practice and I always give my time to help support others.

With the library I have one clear goal for myself and that is to share my love of reading with others.  I manage the library with another teacher and we have split the role up so that my focus is mainly around books (the best part!!). We manage the library in the sense that we facilitate things like purchasing books however the ownership of the library we have put back on to the students.

The library since our takeover this year has become a community hub.  We have craft clubs, book clubs and a code club running out of it.  At one stage some students even started up an "Ocean Life" club for a term.  These clubs are run by students for students.  The aim for them to claim ownership of how they use the library and show leadership at the same time.  Our student librarians have been asked to take ownership over different sections of their library and think about how they want to display books and take care of their area.  I find myself attracted to just hanging out in this space because now there is a (quiet) buzz.  I usually end up engaged with a student about books I have read/they have read and talking about books.  I buy books with specific students in mind.  The library is a place for everyone to come to and for everyone to be part of.  So I guess with the library my management style is more distributive leadership with a student focus.

Monday, July 27, 2015

He Kaitiaki

It is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language week and I have been given the wero (challenge) to reflect on Tū Rangitira - a document for leadership in Māori medium teaching.

Now I am not a teacher in a kura kaupapa but I do have a profound commitment to the use of te reo Māori in both primary and early childhood settings.  This is an opportunity to see if I can extend my leadership in this area in a mainstream context.  I also view leadership as something that doesn't have to be assigned to a management unit or a Principal.  Anybody can be a leader... you just have to lead!

Ko ngā tīpuna kaitiaki  o Rangitāne

He Kaitiaki.  I love the word kaitiaki. There is a lot of strength and mana associated with being the guardian of something.  It is empowering.

Being the kaitiaki within a school means that you care for the people in it. Students, staff, and whānau.  Schools are people places and for learners to have all of their needs met they need happy, well supported teachers.  Leaders also need to look after themselves!

It is important that we keep an eye out for each other - that we recognise and respond to each others hauora (health and wellbeing).  It could be as simple as covering somebodies duty so they can catch up on some work, or catching up over a coffee in the staffroom to relax.

We need to take the time to korero with our students so that we know what is going on for them. Again recognising and responding to their needs. Knowing how they are feeling.

We can all be kaitiaki of the language and culture too. I spoke to my students today about te reo Māori being a "living language" and then asked how do we stop it from dying?  If an 8 year old can infer that we need to speak it more then surely we can see, as adults, how important it is to include it as part of classroom culture?  Our curriculum is bicultural but I don't think we value that part of it. Certainly not as much as we did in early childhood education.  We need more professional development for teachers in this area and more emphasis on this for our student teachers.

And lastly I want to acknowledge that we are kaitiaki of Papatūānuku too. This isn't explicitly mentioned in Tū Rangatira but I believe that we need to lead by example in how we look after our natural resources. Our tamariki deserve that from us and they too need to see themselves as kaitiaki too.