Thursday, October 17, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." - Winston Churchill

Mixing it up with maths games -
 ...as often as possible.
Thanks to the students who were
always so keen to try out my games!
It seems that I have reached the ending of a major chapter in life. For the past year and three quarters I had been a science and maths teacher at a junior high school. A six month position as a long term reliever had turned into a year position as a long term reliever and finally into a permanent post. It seems that for many of recent teacher graduates, long term relief is the only way to get in anywhere. And luckily for me, it gave me a chance to work in an amazing school with inspirational people but in particular great coaches. I would like to dedicate this post to the people and the lessons I learn from them, the staff but also the students.

Some of the highlights:

  • A visit in my classroom by John Key himself. 
  • The annual year 9 geology field trip - there is no shortage of volcanoes in Auckland, but visiting these with a truly skilled storyteller who weaves the science and the cultural legends into one field trip is an extraordinary experience. 
  • Being sent to attend the Spectrum Education Habits of Mind Bootcamp. Fantastic conference! The google apps for education summit in 2012 was also definitely worth attending. 
  • Having an exceptional mentor in my head of faculty who was able to recognise that I may be a PRT, but I needed some kind of responsibility.
  • John Key visits my science classroom
    to see ICT in action. 
  • The professional reading group who met every fortnight at seven in the morning. This meant that in a casual environment, I had the opportunity to question the school principal and learn directly from him and other school leaders. 
  • Being invited to attend a presentation by a student presenting his social studies project on his Iwi's land claim history to his whanau and friends. This was a truly special event as it was the first time I had witnessed what genuine empowerment of culture looks like. Seeing the difference between lip service and authentic empowerment was mind blowing.
  • Experimenting with Bring Your Own Device and using ICT in the science and maths classrooms. Due to the school's policy for teachers to experiment and students to bring their devices to school, I was able to undergo an incredible learning curve in refining my pedagogy for e-learning. As a result, I am now an e-learning facilitator for NEAL and my next position also has an e-learning part to it. 
  • Watching the 2012 solar eclipse
  • The GCC challenge. Our school participated in the global corporate challenge in 2013. For 16 weeks, each person wears a pedometer all day, every day aiming to get a minimum of 10 00 steps every day. In teams of seven we then compete against each other. The school funded this for us. This was a fantastic team building experience but also an exceptional effort of the school to emphasise, support and encourage the wellbeing of staff. Although the challenge was optional, almost all the staff participated. It also meant that for a little socially awkward moth like myself, making friends became a lot easier as you decided to go for walks together after school and to the sushi shop at lunch!


Incredible annual year 9 Geology field trip
A great moment from the
Spectrum Education Habits
of Mind bootcamp
Riding a hovercraft at the science
roadshow

Project Runway Wearable Arts