Thursday, 26 October 2017

Banter, Bonding & Basketball

One of my 2017 goals was to increase my involvement in extra-curricular activities. I completely threw myself in the deep end and decided to coach a Junior basketball team! Growing up I loved to play basketball socially, but was never involved in a competitive team and certainly had no coaching experience! So the season was a massive learning curve for me, but so much fun.

Our 7:15am Friday morning trainings were tough for some of the boys, but we always had a great time, and loved our Tuesday afternoon games. I loved strengthening relationships with students I already knew, and creating relationships with other students in the school. Unfortunately our success rate wasn't high, but the kids always left with high spirits. Our van rides back to school after our games, were always the highlight of my week as we left with our heads high and jammed to music! They even attempted to have rap battles, which were entertaining. 

Going through the season, I was grateful to have considerable support from our Sports Coordinator. He coached the other Junior boys team (see both teams and Sports Coordinator above), so always helped me out with ideas, gave me encouragement and regularly led the trainings with me supporting him. I felt I took away a few ideas, but still have a considerable way to go, to be an effective coach! I look forward to PD opportunities in the future to support this growth. 

To celebrate the end of season, I was invited to the school's Sports Prizegiving Dinner. We spent the evening celebrating the success of all of our students involved in Sport at Tamaki College. See alongside the recipients of Most Valuable Player, Player of the Year and Most Improved Player for my team. This was a great experience, and I loved seeing the students walk across the stage to receive their awards. For some of our students and their families, this was a huge success, which I felt blessed to be a part of. 

Overall, I am so grateful to be involved in this team because I throughly enjoyed myself, and more importantly, I think the kids did too!

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Snowy Experience

This week we took our 11PE classes to Snowplanet, an indoor snow centre. The kids chose whether they would like to ski or board, had a lesson and then were given free time. I had so much fun being with the students in a new environment for them, and watching them learn.

For many of our students, this day was about an opportunity, an experience. Majority of the kids had never seen snow before, so had never been in a cold environment or had a snow fight. They were certainly shocked walking into -6 degrees! Last year we took our Year 12 class mountain biking and on the high ropes course. I left that day, and our Snowplanet day thinking how happy the students were after these first time experiences. They were so well behaved, incredibly respectful and so grateful for the day out. This means so much more than learning the skill itself.

A bunch of the kids enjoyed the day so much, they want to continue to ski/board. I would love to support the growth of an alpine group at TC, hopefully to take the students down to the mountain at some point - imagine the experiences the kids would have there?! I hate the stereotypes associated with low decile schools and low socio-economic communities, because anything is possible if you really want it... 

I created this short clip of our day out, and really hope to be involved in more awesome experiences in the future. Really looking forward to helping out with the Waka Ama day in a few weeks!

Monday, 16 October 2017

The End Is Near

How is today the first day of Term 4 - this year is flying past?! I feel I have grown so much this year, not only as a teacher but also as a person. I have faced many challenges and been given many new opportunities, and now the end is near. I am most looking forward to spending tomorrow with my Year 11s at Snowplanet, a 2 day High Ropes course at the end of the year with my tutor class, and developing new relationships and building on relationships during the Jumpstart programme in a few weeks.

A quick reflection post Term 3 on my 2017 goals:

1. Schedule time for me:
Until these holidays, I am proud that I have not said no to any social event or activity that I have wanted to do. I have enjoyed having this two hours each day at the back of my mind and when there are busier times, I have been making up the hours I may have worked through. I had lots to juggle in Term 3, and trying to maintain a balanced Hāuora is incredibly important, not only for myself and my whānau, but also for the students. 

2. Read educational blogs:
Unfortunately I did not give one hour per week, but tried to give one hour fortnightly last term reading through blogs. I tried a different approach; rather than focusing on the same blogs I had been, I tried to read through all posts I saw on my Twitter feed. I regularly tweet links to my posts, so found this to be a great way to read different blogs, with an array of ideas and topics. I am so thankful I got introduced to blogging as part of MDTA, as this has been a reflective journey for myself, which I have been able to share with others!

3. Experiment with more digital tools
I was light on the inclusion of more digital tools this term, but used some Google Expeditions to revise the Skeletal System (see detailed description in previous reflection). Rather than using more digital tools, I was trying to build on my confidence of the inclusion of the GAFE community, and trying to use them in different ways such as hyperlinking to a variety of websites and encouraging students to use these websites to answer a series of questions or create a digital artefact. 

4. Attend more extra curricular activities
I made it through the basketball season! I will be writing a blogpost later this week, once the photos from our Sports Awards are released - such a cool night. I have also signed up to assist the one day Waka Ama tournament in November, as many of my students are involved. I am really looking forward to a day in the sun with them, learning about a new sport!

5. Include blogging into 11PE

As reflected a little in a previous post, I am currently bringing all of the pieces of my dissertation together. I spent the second week of my holidays writing a draft of my dissertation. This has been a difficult process, but I have learnt a lot about the blogging process and started to refine how to include blogging within my classroom next year to benefit my students. I am really looking forward to this hurdle being over - roll on the 20th of November once it's handed in!

Overall, I feel I developed great goals for myself, and I'm looking forward to the final 9 weeks of the year to wrap these goals up and make new ones. The important thing for me to keep in the back of my mind, is that although it's the nearing the end, every minute still counts!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Post PPTA Annual Conference Thoughts

After recently attending Mahi Tika 2 - an employment relations course facilitated by the PPTA (see my reflection here), I was encouraged to attend the annual PPTA conference. The conference was based in Wellington, so I was fortunate to be flown down there for three days to learn about what's happening within the union, and to network. These are the major things I was left thinking about, after an intriguing experience, completely throwing myself in the deep end!

One of the most contentious papers discussed was a salary increase for teachers. It is well known we have a considerable workload, and compared to other professions aren't paid particularly well. Teachers are often heard saying they do it for the love of the job and the kids - but at the end of the day we still need to pay the bills! So I was really interested listening to the discussion about salary increase on the conference floor. Because, as Sam Oldman (South Auckland teacher) highlighted "many [teachers are] being pushed out of teaching by workload, stress and low pay" in his recent article discussing what life is like in a low decile community. I really liked this article as I could relate so much of his story, to my own experiences at Tamaki College.

The paper I backed most, was the diversity paper - supporting schools to be safe places for students, staff and whānau from minority gender and sexuality groups. Acceptance and ongoing support of LGBTQI is incredibly important, as are all minority/diverse groups, to ensure feelings of safety within the school environment. Upon reflection, I feel there are staff within our school who want to be supportive of minority gender and sexuality groups, but are unsure how. I think some uncertainty may be because of a lack of understanding/education. Therefore, I would like to work with the other Health teacher, to possibly create a presentation for the staff about the gender and sexuality spectrums, and as a result the staff may be have greater knowledge of how to be supportive. Or, we could request a full staff session from Rainbow Taskforce or Rainbow Youth, which would also likely support our Health programme. It was timely having this discussion when RY released this incredible ad this week (a discussion which I regularly have with students!)...

One of our guest speakers, Dr Mere Berryman (University of Waikato). My key takeaways from her presentation were; 

- The NZ Education system is of high quality and of low equity
Kia Eke Panuku schools have greater academic success for both Māori and non-Māori students when compared to non-Kia Eke Panuku schools, and
- Poutama Pounamu is dedicated to reducing the challenges faced by Māori, in hope to increase success within schools - their research and website also provide resources to support other educators
- The alongside visual represent the 'ako critical contexts for change', which bring to light the parts which interweave within teaching and learning

After Mere's presentation I really liked Mere's closing whakatauki/proverb:
"Ma te huruhuru, ka rere te manu,
It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly."
I was really left thinking about all of the feathers this could be referring to, and thought these words were powerful. I am now wanting to have a weekly whakatauki with my 2018 tutor class, as something to refer back to throughout the week with the students!

Overall, I really enjoyed the conference, learning a lot and making new connections. I am looking forward to further opportunities within the union, and definitely the 2018 conference!