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.