Tuesday, 20 May 2014

What University Never Prepared Me For...Jhana Brash

My hands are shaking, I am sweating so much, I am worried that I smell bad, and I have never been so nervous in my whole entire life. Every time I think of this moment, I never thought it would change my life in so many ways. I am about to walk into my interview for a job at Te Karaka Area School and I am terrified.

Thinking back now, I wonder why I was so scared. It is really daunting being the only one in the room who feels nervous, or so you think. I walked out of the room that day thinking, “I really stuffed up, I rambled, I am never going to get the job”. So when Karyn called me on the Sunday after my interview, I was shocked. “Oh goodness, they have called me to say I don’t have it” and then Karyn says “We would like to offer you the job”……. complete silence….. “Are you still there Jhana?”

I was there all right… completely in shock, can I do this? Challenge accepted! “Yes, yes I will take the job, and no, I don’t need any time to think about it! THANK YOU SO MUCH”.

Walking to the new school I was overwhelmed.  Am I ready for this? Decile one, exactly where I want to be.

Day 1 – 50 little faces looking expectantly at me. Wow 50 names to remember, and now, I know 58 (as our class has expanded) of the most beautiful little people I have ever come to know.

University did not prepare me for this.

Well they did, however not for the effect it would have on me.  58 children that, although they are not my children, feel like family. Their disappointments are mine too, and so too are their triumphs. We have so much invested in each other, we believe in each other. The children trust that I will do right by them, and teach them what they need to know, and I trust that they will try their hardest to take part in the experiences I help them engage in. I was told “you won’t like every single child in your class.” However I can honestly say, that I actually do.

University did not prepare me for this new style of teaching. I was told that I would get a class of 30 students and it would be them and I, that is it. I was not told about giant, flexible classrooms, team teaching, and collaboration.

I wish all schools were like this, and that I could go back to University and tell all the 3rd years that this is a way of teaching too.  Give it a go, and don’t be scared.

We are told that our planning will be our own and that we will only really be answerable to our principal, tutor teacher, and parents. We are answerable to everyone in our team and every one in our school, everything is shared online and has been made available to others within the school and I love it.

University did not prepare me to be flexible, to step outside of my comfort zone, and to take a chance to do something completely different in my career. They don’t teach you that you can work in teams and collaborate and work as part of a team within one classroom, with a classroom that it bigger that 30 students.

They do teach you that you will like your students, however they didn’t tell me I would love them to the point that I feel like they are almost my own children. That I would look forward to seeing them so much that I absolutely love going to school every day to see the children in our class.

I must say, I truly think I have learned more about myself in the last 3 months, than I have in my whole entire life.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not all smiles, and rainbows, however the good definitely out weighs the bad. EASILY. 

I feel inspired everyday. The children in my class give me so much more than I could ever imagine. Love, acceptance, inspiration, drive, respect and more than anything, they like me for who I am, and I like them too.  I never really understood what being a teacher in a school like this really meant. Not only are we role models, we are Mum, Dad, a shoulder to cry on, tell secrets to and dream with. Our students really believe that they can be the best they can be and we really try to encourage them to reach far beyond what they believe they are capable of.

Everyone needs a cheerleading squad, and that is what I am – A Cheerleader to 60 + students and there is nowhere I would rather be.

That right there…is what University NEVER prepared me for.

1 comment:

  1. Tautoko Jhana, you have hit the nail on the head- that is exactly how I feel about my kids- yup, MY kids! The teaching approach at your school sounds awesome too.