A few weeks back I posted this message on my facebook timeline;
Life can get confusing and at times you can lose sight of the person you wanted to be. Your motivation is going to fluctuate and at times you'll feel like giving up....but those problems you thought were so big in your life..aren't really that big after all. And that courage you've always wanted you've always had it....you just needed to get in the game. With a little bit of hardwork and with the right support you can be that person you've always wanted to be! So whatever it is you're after...just make the conscious decision to get in the Game!......and go get it!!! Just decide who you wanna be what you wanna do where you wanna go and go for it........what have you got too lose?
Now at the time that post, was directed towards my passion of bodybuilding since then I have come to believe that maybe indirectly and unconsciously I may have been thinking about my teaching this year aswell so with that in mind, the dispositions I would like to touch on is Stickability and Empathy.
2014 has definitely not been without its challenges. I would be lying if I didn’t say stepping up and teaching fulltime in the Senior Learning Community has been a smooth ride and at times I would question my ability to be teaching at this level…at times I wondered what the hell was Senior Management thinking placing me in there. I have never been one not to accept new challenges and embrace change. However, I was also aware that this challenge just didn’t affect me alone but it would have major implications on the students I directly and indirectly interacted with.
This year I have learnt to be flexible with the many learning and teaching pathways we have been shown and trialled. Like my post at times I was confused and lost sight of the teacher I thought I was supposed to be. I believe this was because like all new experiences and changes it not only highlights ones strengths but also reveals ones weaknesses. It is in our weaknessess that our fears are unveiled and when our fight or flight response is activated. Not one to fly, that courage you’ve always wanted you’ve always had it But with the right support so thaks to my colleagues in the SYLC and some hard work on my behalf I have managed to work through it.
I can honestly say despite the ups and downs of working with our seniors, and what seemed like moving mountains to motivate and or to inspire them towards their passions and to get them through NCEA has been fulfilling. Knowing what a slow and uncertain process learning can often be, this last term has shown when we as Teachers persevere, channel our energy of frustrations productively and go beyond our job descriptions anything can be achieved.Empathy.
Matua Henare enlightened me on one of our many conversations and reflections of the working day ..”sometimes we need to stop listening with our head and we need to follow our hearts, teaching is all about relationships.”
We are all familiar with the korero “don’t judge a man untill you have walked in his shoes.” Which refers to the importance of empathy and its moral values. When we empathise with another person we are able to see things from their point of view. This year we have tried to develop this even more by providing our students opportunities and encouraging them to work independantly and follow their passions.
I don’t normally agree with Henare most of the time, so pride aside he’s right, its quite a simple concept and I think sometimes as teachers we can analyse and over intellectualise what we are trying to achieve with our students that at times we get lost and forget why we wanted to become teachers in the first place.
When I think about Empathy and relationships the word Rangatira comes to mind. My understanding of this word isn’t based on status, position, money or popularity its based on the deeper meaning of the word. I recall the late Morvin Simon breaking the word down for me as student at Hato Paora Catholic Maori boys School as "Ranga" which derives from the word raranga to “weave” then "Tira" which is a travelling party of which he defined as a person who "weaves" a "travelling party " together.
Bringing people together and weaving all those whom we interact with on a daily basis through the many twists and turns in peoples lives is what we have to work with. No matter what the context or the kaupapa you are dealing with if you are unable to have a good working relationship with your students, their families and your colleagues you are more than likely going to struggle to weave that travelling party together.
Rangatira didn’t work alone aswell, having those support networks around you is vital and I know for a fact even though it maybe deemed as a sign of weakness asking for help…a problem shared is a problem halved so pull up your socks put your pride aside and if you require help just like I said at the beginning “ GET IN THE GAME” and ask, what have you got to lose?
Na Matua Sol,