Monday, 26 November 2018

The games we play....

Kia ora

Life has been busy recently - actually, when is life ever NOT busy?
However, life has been busy - mainly with a new job that entails a whole pile o' new learnings.
(New job is "Teacher In Charge" - a term I dislike, I prefer Kaiārahi - at a Teen Parent Unit... never heard of a TPU? well.... ask me about it some time... TPU's are AMAZING!!!)

Anyhoo - I have been observing and reflecting on "the games we play" as part of my learnings in this new community.  Now, I'm not talking "games" as in Monopoly, Scrabble, Chess, Tag, Football or even Curriculum for the Future - but more the idea of the type of manipulations we all play in certain situations to either get amusement, gain something tangible or just to rock the boat and watch the fall out. We all do it, we put on our "game faces" and head into the classroom. We act a certain way with certain people to get a reaction - be that a good reaction, or a not so good reaction.

In the past couple of weeks I will admit to throwing a spanner into the works of a few game players in my life - perhaps we should call my acts "wildcards." I consciously decided to have a little bit of a (social) science experiment and observe what happens when I didn't play the game as expected.
SUCH FUN!  Very interesting results! Just changing the expected behaviour from me has meant that some of the (negative) game playing has stopped (yay!). But has lead me to think.... am I now just playing games too?  Are teachers just meddling in the games that our students play?

(warning.... bad pun ahead)

Are we all just pawns playing along in the game of life?

Image result for game of life

 Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

All I know for sure.... Is right now, I'm tired of playing so many games and I need a holiday.

Roll on Summer!!!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

2018 - #thisisme

I have been trying to think of my "word" for 2018, and failing miserably.  Everything I think of just seems to smack of tokenistic  blah-ness and I feel myself shudder with revulsion.

So - I have decided to take a slightly different route for 2018.

This was (in part) sparked by running into a student that I taught in my very first year of being in the classroom. She recounted to me how much she enjoyed the "random science fact" that I would write up every week in the corner of my white board. In fact, she could still recall several of them - listing them off to me as we were standing on Lambton Quay surrounded by the lunchtime suits.

 Linking up with an idea about positive body image and all the awesomely amazing things our bodies do that we just don't even realise or pay attention to (until it goes wrong) and my idea was born (admittedly at about 2 am one morning, when I just couldn't turn my brain off!)

365 days of stuff that I appreciate about my body - "this is me" - or #thisisme

From the walking chemistry set, to the ever reproducing cells, to the bugs that happily live on and in me, there is so much I love about me that I want to share!!! And yes, I acknowledge that sounded really self-centred, but this is going to be about learning how brilliant your body is.

I have seen so many students who are depressed or don't like the skin they are in. I know. I used to be there. I would love to be able to point out how that skin is just FASCINATING on so many (dermal) layers. (yes, there probably will be many puns...)

Here is my newly updated Instagram profile, lets see how we go for 365 of #thisisme.

Any suggestions on cool things our bodies do that I can celebrate? Let me know!!!

Day one? Snot.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Hippo in the room (apologies for the phonetic spelling)

Recently there have been a number of conversations that I have overheard, or taken part in, where I have stopped myself and trying to re-route my thoughts....

The best way I can explain why, and what I mean, is painting a picture of one of these conversations.

I had the privilege of sitting in a staff room somewhere in NZ at lunch time - probably the same image will pop into the minds of educators - groups of people huddled around tables, drinking tea or coffee, munching on their lunch and defragging the morning. The furniture is best described as "homely and worn in", the walls are covered in notices, posters from the education union, values, ERO reports, etc. The conversation behind me starts to gain my interest - a teacher who was bemoaning the lack of engagement of their students.

 "They just don't pay any attention when I am talking! They sit down the back of the class and play on their phones, then talk when I don't want them too. They just don't want to learn, and I have had enough! They need to be removed from my class, they are a waste of my time."

Interesting - me thinks. I wonder what they have tried to get these students more engaged....??

As I am lost in my thoughts about how I would possibly try to tackle this student in my own class the conversation moves on to the PLD session that is planned for the afternoon. The same teacher pipes up...

"Ah, I don't know why we are having this PLD session. I have no need for this rubbish. I'm just going to sit down the back and finish off my report writing...."

And it hits me.

How many times have I gotten annoyed by the behavior of other people, when I do EXACTLY that myself.  Man, I am ever a hippo-crite!!!!
Under a CC0 licence

This epiphany has made me reflect on my own hypocritical behaviors.  (I will admit to having a few....) And so, I have a new wero for the near future - to acknowledge my own "hippos" and prevent them from becoming out of hand - and also, when something/someone annoys me - ask first "do I do xxxxx as well? Why is this annoying me?" - just to make sure I am not being a hippo.

Do you have any hippos in your room?????

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Whanau and Wero

I know we are now into March, but I have been thinking (perhaps OVER thinking) my "WORD" for the year, and in the end could not decide between two.

A lot has happened in life over this Summer - mainly personal stuff - but an awful amount of family stuff, both good and bad. Nothing brings out the best in whanau than weddings and funerals, aye?

Hence the decision to focus on WHANAU for the year. I am going to take the liberty to make my own definition of WHANAU for the purposes of my goals.  For me, WHANAU is much more than just my genetical relations (although, they certainly are front and centre around goals I am setting this year). To my mind I have many WHANAU - I have my work WHANAU, my extended WHANAU, my immediate WHANAU, my band WHANAU (who only came into my life late last year!), my Zumba Fitness WHANAU, my hoa WHANAU, and my edu WHANAU.
Part of my goals this year is to make deliberate decisions to connect and spend quality time with all these elements of WHANAU. So far I have been successful - from playing lego with my nephews to catching up with cousins to attending #educampwelly to dancing at the first Zumba Master Class of 2017. to meeting old high school mates for breakfast.  It has felt AMAZING. Making a conscious decision to just "be" with people is fabulous. I highly recommend it.

And now that I have written this down... I better follow through!!

To my second kupu. WERO.  This year I want to challenge myself - and to be a challenger. I want to make the hard choice, not because it is hard, but because I know that I will learn more. I want to challenge others - in a respectful and non-threatening way (hopefully??) so I can learn more about other peoples points of view.

Success for this WERO? Feeling uncomfortable, asking questions and putting in the mahi. I think success here is going to be hard to quantify. Success might also look very different at the end of the year to what I think it will look like now. Is that a bad thing? I will have to do some more thinking around this!

So, my WHANAU, I am throwing down this WERO to myself. And if I fail, then I will reflect and re-evaluate. As you do.

What is your WERO for the year?

Monday, 21 November 2016

#SUNZSummit #1

There is so much going on in my head after last weeks SingularityUNZ Summit that there are many, many posts in the making - I have decided that rather than writing one singular post, I will try and get down some thoughts as I process them.

Today's thought?

"Re-spect abundance... If you look again you might see that there enough resources for everybody" - Tiago Mattos

Firstly, I loved Tiago's definition of re-spect - to look again:

Years of asking my students what they thought or meant by "respect each other and the environment" and I had never once heard this meaning.

Secondly, Tiago's talk about abundance models vs scarcity models.

Scarcity Model - based in fear,  competition for resources and a self perpetuating cycle of "we need more!", stock-piling resources.

Abundance model - It starts with a belief there are enough resources to go around everybody  - building confidence in the face of fear and then making your resources more available within the system, leading to more confidence and more available resources.

Throughout the summit I was viewing with an education lens - and this talk especially resonated with me about education as a system. Is our current education system based around a scarcity model or an abundance model?

I will let you think about that....

My parting shot for this evening is another of Tiago's quotes

"I would rather face a new question in a world of abundance than face old answers in a world of scarcity."

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Reflections of a bullying victim

This year I wore a Pink Shirt on Pink Shirt Day - Friday the 20th May.

For anyone wondering what Pink Shirt Day is all about, their tag line is

"Speak Up.
Stand Together.
Stop Bullying."

Throughout the day I was recollecting the two times in my life that I can 100% honestly say I felt bullied, both very, very different and in two different millennium!

When I was at primary school I was bullied.  So much so that my parents decided to shift schools at the end of standard four (Year 6 in today's world).  But before they made this decision, I remember getting to the point where I hated school. I was never physically harmed, but it certainly came close! I recall my father showing me how to throw a punch and telling me that if I ever needed to defend myself, that he would stand up for me.  Luckily it never got to that. The bullying that occurred was more of the psychological variety, and to this day it is still hard to talk about.  I won't go into details, but it pretty much made me feel lonely, unwanted, sad, angry, ugly, dumb, stupid and smelly.  Not fun for five years.  Not fun when you are 10, and don't know how to cope with it all.  Also, not fun when you would tell the teachers, and they couldn't (or maybe just didn't?) do anything about it, other than tell you not to let it upset you.

Over the years, I have often wondered what happened to some of those who bullied me.
I am not brave enough yet to go looking, but I am curious.

It makes me think now - I wonder what I would do, if I was one of those teachers?

I can honestly say that dealing with bullying has been one of the hardest jobs in my experience of being an educator.  And I will also be brutally honest and say that I think I need more work, more learning and more time.

But I wish I didn't have to learn how to deal with bullying in schools.

I also wish I didn't have to learn about bullying as an adult.

But I have.

I have "Stood Up" - unfortunately all by myself - to try and stop the bullying and learnt that to stop bullying in adults is hard work, and a job that seems to need a lot of voices.

Oh well.

One day I hope to be able to "Speak Up" about it. But not today.

Today - I am making my solo stand.

And then I found a friend.

And I am sure I will find more.

For more information about bullying - including research, and what you can do if you are being bullied, click this link

For workplace bullying specific information, I found this site very useful.

Just FYI - I am not currently being bullied and am quite happy with everything in my life :) thanks for asking!!!

Monday, 2 May 2016

An apology to all the students I have failed.

After watching this video (warning, have the tissues ready) I have had a great discussion and reflection with my colleagues about sometimes you just don't realise how much of an impact you have on the success of your students.

On the flip side though, as someone pointed out, you could make a similar video with the same emotional pull, with students that have not been as successful.

On that note, I know there are many students out there who I have "failed".

If this is you, and you are out there, I am sorry.

I am sorry to those of you that I taught in my first year or two.  You didn't get the "best" teacher. That I was (and still am) learning how to become a better teacher. To be honest with you and say that on the bad days I felt like a fish out of water and on the good days that I was merely treading water.
I am sorry that bared the brunt of my short temper in those beginning years.  I failed numerous times to stay calm. I am sorry that I yelled at you.
I am sorry that for a long time, I felt like I had to focus on NCEA results, "preparing" you for assessment after assessment after assessment and not spending time exploring how fun it can be to just "do" science.
I am sorry to those of you whom already knew all the stuff we were learning about.  I should have talked to you more and found out where else you could go with your learning.
I am sorry if you were falling behind and I never realised until too late.  I should have talked to you more and figured out a way in which we could work together to reach that understanding.

I am sorry.

And I also say thank you.

Thank you for not walking out on me (well, mostly).

I am not who I am today without all that I have tried to help learn.
And I hope you realise that I am trying to learn about this thing called teaching.  I think I still have a long way to go before I am the "best" teacher (honestly, I don't think that is a destination that my journey will ever arrive at) but I am trying to get better.  And that is a promise.

I have always said that the day I have the "perfect" lesson is the day I need to retire.  I still stand by that.

Mō taku hē, mō taku hē.

aka Mrs Hay
aka Miss Wightman