The Term I Will Never Forget!


It has been an honorable challenge to be my schools Acting Principal, for a term, while our principal was on a sabbatical. We are a small rural school who models and values the virtues. The students are our greatest advocates for these values. They constantly make me feel proud to be a teacher in their school.

I must admit I was slow at taking the wheel at the helm of the school. I am not sure why but maybe it was out of habit of being second in command or I am so relaxed I am almost horizontal, arguable I am sure. The fact is, it took a few moments for it to sink in.

My first moment; In fact, the first week, a sheep was being chased by a trail of children through the corridors. Having a sheep staring at me from the hall door had me wandering fleetingly who will fix this problem then I realized it was me.Another occasion I was in a staff meeting with a visiting expert when the silence at the start of the meeting was very heavy. I looked around wandering why we were so quiet, my right hand girl was giving me an encouraging look which reminded me to introduce our guest. That was the last time I took the back seat, from then on I knew that I was at the helm and needed to be guiding the ship at all times.

Now the stuff that left me wandering if I was a teacher, psychologist, electrician, plumber, cleaner, caretaker, nurse, doctor, mediator, detective, negotiator or a leading educator! We had our water shut off for a day, sewerage spilling under a building, toilets overflowing,scabies,chicken pox, whooping cough, a smelly uninhabitable classroom, a rare building inspection, a small contained electrical fire, bothered staff, ambulance, police and a week before school ending another threat of water being turned off.

On a happier note we had our cultural festival, mishmash tv, winning artist, kiwi expedition, field trip with some whales in the pacific, snail and whale visit, Fred  Hollows fundraiser, 4 new students, mufti day, Toro Piko Piko and ASB Get-wise.

The office lady, who is priceless and kept me sane, said in the 7 years she had been there none of the bothersome stuff had ever happened and now it all happens in one term!

I have been officially challenged and I rose to it, loved it and grew from it.

The hardest challenge was not to take the staff issues personally. The issues needed to be addressed professionally. I constantly referred to the registered teachers criteria to give focus to what is important. Not once did I forget why I was there. “the children, the children, the children.”

In the weekend before the penultimate week of term, I wrote my application for a years study leave. I have frequently pondered the opportunity for being a principal and still do but what I know, for now, is that I want  to study. I am very keen to expand my knowledge in eLearning. To be an effective, inspiring, motivated leader, of one of the things I am passionate about in teaching; using electronic gadgets to enhance learning opportunities, support global collaboration and inspire creativity.

Fingers crossed, wish me luck and if you applied I am sending you some luck.

Bring on Term 3, I am ready, pleased, excited and wondering what brilliance will make me proud.


New Start!


This is a post I wrote in February. I was waiting for permission from the artist of the illustration to include it in my blog. I received permission but neglected to post to my blog. Hope you enjoy it dated as it is!  

I approach the start of a new school year full of excitement and nerves at the anticipation of new students and new ideas. I often start the year with things I want to do different. This year was no exception.  I spent a lot of time in the holidays reading blog posts and books about digital learners  and listening to Ken Robinson on ‘Out of our Minds’.  It is a time of great change in our approach to pedagogy – the science of teaching – due to the needs of our learners. I approach it with a keen, green interest. 

My first week was WOW! This year I have been given the opportunity to work with 13 students in a year 5/6 group which is amazing because I normally start my year with 25 plus and last year I ended with 33 students.  Therefore the WOW!  

Our school wide theme for term one 2012 is Kotahitanga. This is about belonging, unity, harmony and oneness, a recipe for a great team of learners. We spent our first two days ‘Getting to know each other’ which is a key ingredient for Kotahitanga.  Our learning became all about creating our own personal narrative through a number of cooperative and learning buddy activities-

After reading a blog post from Allanah King    II thought ‘what my teacher needs to know about me’ would be a great way to get to know my new students so I set this task for home learning. The following morning after setting the task I was pottering around the class talking to the students when one of my boys asked if we could share our 5 things. When I asked had anyone else completed the task they all handed me their books.  The student’s ideas really struck a chord with me because it was evident that some of the ideas I had been reading about over the holidays was thriving in my students.  Check them out for yourselves

I wrote my own thoughts on what my teachers needed to know about me:

 1. Get to know me.

 2. Involve me.

 3. Share me with the world

 4. Give me time

 5. Encourage and support me to take risks. Mistakes and failures are my friends.

My keen, green ideas have led me to start my year with a project to base the learning tasks and activities around.


To design and create an ideal learning environment inside and outside the classroom that is inclusive of all individuals and groups.

This design will include a resource that can be used by the Broadlands and Global Communities to enable a better understanding of Kotahitanga in our world community.

I have made this change based on a few of the ideas I have been exposed to over the holidays. I don’t know if it is the correct thing to do but I am willing to challenge myself and find out what will work for my students.

 Our ingredient for Kotahitanga next week is going to be Managing Self. This, I believed fitted in well with the students becoming independent learners as they make choices about the tasks they are going to complete during independent learning time. I envisage the independent learning time becoming a big part of their day as they work through tasks, by choice, based on our project and those set by me, based on next learning steps and individual needs.

Is anyone else starting with fresh ideas and challenging themselves with how they approach the learning this year? I would love to hear from you. 

Photo by  Thomas Lauterbach

KOTAHITANGA means ‘coming together, be one’ .

A painting I did in the 90’s, when there was a desperate need for change in attitude in regards to race realations. But New Zealand since has come a long way as a country – and we have to accept, that we still have a long way to go. But race relations have improved – we are on our way to KOTAHITANGA.

naureira tenei te mihi ki a koutou, mihi mai – mihi mai – mihi mai