The day before...After meeting with #ChchEd Educators @paulinehendog, @mattynicoll, @karyngra and @ginippi on Sunday afternoon, I had more questions than answers and the excitement started to build. We had a good discussion about uniform in schools and I found that I hadn't even given a thought as to whether there was a dress code for staff in my new school. I just assumed that I would wear what I normally would for teaching. It was good having Karyn there, so I did get to ask. Interestingly, she said it wasn't something that they had thought about. There are so many things that a new school has to think about, it has been interesting to see what the priorities are as another school had stipulated what they wanted their staff to wear. As Matt was also going to a new school this term, there was talk about the balance of getting to know staff, but also getting on with what we need to do for planning and I look forward to seeing how this pans out in our induction weeks. I am sure my social media accounts will be busy over the next few weeks as I learn new things and get more excited about meeting our students next year.
Day OneSome nerves this morning as I drove over to the old Burwood School site ready for our mihi whakatau. Great to meet with some new staff first thing and then we were welcomed to Haeata. After our mihimihi Mana Whenua facilitator Corban Te Aika and Mel Taite (SLT) spent time to teach us the waiata that we would be mainly using. Our day was spent getting to know each other. We spent time in small groups, doing the usual icebreaker type activities and the SLT ran some excellent activities. We went outside and did a treasure hunt in teams - a great way to get to know a few of our colleagues and show our true colours (maybe I am a little competitive). There were lots of laughs and a lot of talking. We also got to see the new uniform, which looks really practical and low cost for families. Over lunch, a few of us decided that the getting to know people was quite exhausting. You are continually listening, talking, asking questions and trying to remember names and details. It really was a tiring day.
During the day we were encouraged to ask questions and a few came up over the day, checking if we can blog/tweet, uniform questions, dates and times as well as talking about going into our contributing schools. Many things are still in progress and will take more discussion over the coming weeks.
Day TwoI presented my digital korowai this morning and challenged myself to present something in a way I hadn't done before so did my first Office Mix and made it into a movie. It was good to push myself out of my comfort zone - something I feel we will all be doing over the next weeks. Each day a few of us are presenting about ourselves - a really great way to get to know one another and learn about some of the interests we have.
We watched The Future of Learning and we had discussions around what this meant for us as a school. We watched it again and were encouraged to take notes in whatever way we wanted. Really interesting to see the range of ways people wanted to record their thoughts. My note-taking lives in OneNote and I love being able to write and draw and highlight as I note take. Being able to put pictures in and links is just the best. I would be hard pushed to find another tool that would do all of that!
After lunch we had a "Passion Unconference". This was the opportunity to experience learning about other staff member's passions. We were treated to workshops from playing cards to baking and writing Chinese characters to making Samoan ula lole. A great opportunity to learn more about others and also experience something a little different for ourselves.We were then split into groups and given a packet of pipecleaners and had to create something that was representative of learning at Haeata. Ours showed chaos, infinity, connectedness, strong foundations, collaboration and thinking outside the box.
Day ThreeThe day started with our karakia and himene (I have been learning a lot in regards to Tikanga Maori and Te Reo)and then moved into a session on Unschooling. We had a lot of opportunities to talk in pairs and small groups about our experiences and in one part to discuss failure and success and what the conditions were to make us meet these two things. Why do we try again and again and then give up? Or alternatively why do we try and try again and keep trying until we succeed? We came up with a lot of conditions that make these things happen. A really good way to see how we can support our learners to succeed. I realised for myself that I often don't risk take for fear of failure and things outside my comfort zone often don't even get attempted. We are all too quick to make excuses - not enough time, not interested and so on.
Andy Kai Fong talked about the cynefin framework by Dan Snowden (place of multiple belongings) and we looked at what each of these areas could look like in a school situation. I felt this resonated as I know I have been in all four quadrants over my teaching time.
We had some time in our hapori today which was good to get to know each other a little better. We played games (cards were a definite hit) and chatted about ourselves.
I had an interesting discussion with some staff at lunchtime around student well-being and was introduced to the Circle of Wellbeing and Achievement which Haeata is using when interviewing parents of new students. This has a really good framework to get to know students and plan goals and strategies to help with the transition into the school.
We had more digital korowai today and it has been great learning about our staff who have been very open in sharing information about their family and their teaching.
The afternoon was about our personal sites that had been set up for us which have our contracts and information and documentation about our reflections as well as space for working towards our Practicing Teaching Criteria.
Day FourOur first session was on the principles today - Authentic, Connected, Culturally intelligent, Inclusive, Social, Open, Personalised. These are what Haeata is based upon and it was great to have time to learn about and unpack these. Firstly we had blank sheets of paper to write our ideas and unpack each principle. Then we gathered in groups and were given photos that we felt represented those principles and it was interesting to see how people interpreted those pictures and the different ways of thinking. We shared a story each that related to one of the principles and looked at how we would show success in that area. This was a good exercise in working out how we define success. It made me think more about what success is and how our students show that. In groups we also made a slide show with a quote, definition, song and slogan about one of the principles. This let us unpack them a little more as well as get to know more staff. I felt that the principles are all interconnected and felt good about how they would impact on our teaching and learning at Haeata.
This week has been like a huge week of professional development. My daughter thought it sounded like a school camp and in some ways it was. We had time to socialise, to connect with one another and learn about others as well as ourselves. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. I certainly felt that my brain was about to explode a few times. However, it has been a very rewarding week and I know that I feel connected to staff and to this amazing new school, Haeata.