Friday, October 18, 2013

Entering a parallel universe

Every school is different. Every school has its pros and cons, its opportunities and challenges. But so far, my first week at Hobsonville Point Secondary School has brought nothing that you would expect in your first week at a new school. Granted, we do not have any students yet. The thing is however, that the absence of children is not what has made this first week of school so radically different from experiences in my other schools. For a start, on no previous occasion was the first official meeting with all the staff preceded by a performance of all the existing staff on their ukeleles. Shorty followed by the school handing over my own ukelele (in pink - they even try to match your favourite colour). I have since had two ukelele practices. So far I can only play C. 
The Hobsonville Point Ukelele Orchestra aka. The staff of Hobsonville Point Secondary School

Although the week has had multiple team building activities including sculpture making, the therapeutic hippie circle, using the design model to inquire into each other's high school experiences and a whole lot more, what has stood out for me, was the professional reading. One of our sessions on Thursday was spent with the previous intake's staff sharing the professional reading that they had done in the previous term. I love professional reading. It helps me to question and on occasion, if it is a good book, shift my perspective. More than that though, professional reading helps me to maintain my blue skies thinking. And in this, is why my first week at Hobsonville has been such a contrast to previous schools. Where I used to be part of a small group of people who did professional reading, where I use to be the one to question, to agitate, to dream. I am no longer alone. No longer does one get the feeling that you are swimming up stream. Everyone is swimming up stream and rather than spending time trying to convince people that things need to change, you spend your time figuring out how we are going to make it happen. This realisation, above all was the highlight of the week for me. 

My Reading List at the moment hence includes:

 The other highlights were visiting the local areas where our students will come from next year under the guise of making a video for our new school website. We managed a visit to the Whenuapai air base in the process, Herald Island and a few other great spots.

We were also lucky enough to visit the new school site still currently under construction. The flow and the spaces along, without furniture and equipment was already enough to get us ecstatic about the possibilities. I sincerely hope that we have a massive treasure hunt, amazing race combo on the first day when  we move in with our students.