After accepting the position at Haeata, I knew that this was my ideal job, but while explaining to friends and family I realized that i didn’t know how exactly the school would function. The last two weeks have clarified some things, and provoked my thinking in other areas.
Haeata’s literal translation, ‘dawn’ or ‘a beam of light’, is a great representation of how our school model should look. It’s a new day/approach/dawn in how education looks. We are not looking to just take one step in the right direction, rather make up for some lost time and reconsider every aspect of education that is necessary to reconsider.
After my first week I was very excited, I met with Kōrepo a few times during the week and what I immediately saw is opportunity for genuine collaboration. I pushed for collaboration in as much as I could in my old school but all I could get was some surface stuff but any legitimate cross curricular work was put together by me within my own class and using my own knowledge.
But our hapori is a genuine mix of skill sets and personalities which are dedicated to helping the wider group and not just allowing themselves to be bound within their subject. Our varied personalities will also give our ākonga an excellent range of guidance, If we can retain strong team work I am extremely confident we can offer very well rounded educational and social opportunities.
Meeting some of our ākonga for the first time at Aranui high school was a really good experience. We had a good range of activities for the students and I feel there was a relatively high rate of engagement. I spotted some great opportunities to build relationships across many area’s of mutual interests.
This is a major part Haeata to me, we are contributing to a community of learning and strong relationships between Kaiako – ākonga, kaiako – kaiako & ākonga – ākonga. These relationships are the foundations of our learning community. Without the trust within our community we will not open up the opportunities to diversify our teaching and learning.
Our trip to Auckland further clarified my thoughts about Haeata. We saw some interesting things happen and some really cool looking learning environments but they were missing some of the essence I believe will be at the heart of Haeata.
The underlying philosophy at the schools were really cool, its just where this went into practice that things differed to how I picture things should be. I’m not being over critical though as I have never seen my ideals operating schoolwide and in practice so how they can look practically may differ to whats practical/possible.
My main issue was that even though there were some innovative and partially collaborative teaching practice’s happening there was nothing (that i personally saw) which teachers could not put together in a traditional school situation.
There was collaboration between teachers, yes, but to attain true ako, the collaboration needs to be between Kaiako & ākonga too. There were surface examples of this for sure. But not in curriculum construction.
I’m excited for and confident for the process we are going to create in Haeata, I’m almost more unsure of how it will look now than before I had started but I think this is a good way to challenge any existing ‘routine’ thinking that I may already have. It’s fine to ‘think’ I have a great education philosophy but unless my views are constantly challenged, I would be stagnant and thats when your in danger of not just getting things wrong, but not identifying and improving from those mistakes.