Ive had a few occasions to reflect over my past years in education lately. Writing reflective essays on leadership styles and managing change initiatives. Reading things written by previous staff members. Meeting up with people at conferences and meetings.
So I thought I’d write a couple of short reflective pieces this week on some of the people who have influenced me over the years.
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini
My success is not my own, but from many others
As a leader you work with many young teachers, helping them develop their skills and then move onto other things. In the past you often didn't know what had become of them.
But developments in social media has given us a window into people lives that might have been lost to those who have come before us.
Eleven years ago as a Deputy Principal in an urban school I watched a young teacher develop. She was a pretty typical young teacher. Flashes of brilliance in classroom tempered with her quest to define herself as a teacher and to evolve her own philosophy of young people and how they learn. She was, as young people are in their 20’s also on quest to find her place in the world- as an individual and as a partner.
A typical young person, I had several occasions to ask her to think about what she said and how she said it. She was often hilarious- leading us all in many laughs. However learning the appropriateness of language and when and when not to share was the topic of a number of conversations.
I only worked alongside her for a couple of years. And in the past that might have been the only time our paths crossed. Especially as she left our school to live and work in another country.
But social media has allowed me to follow her, as a person, as a teacher and then as a parent over the years.
And how impressed I am.
Kate has got such a passion for helping young people and as I read this post she had written yesterday it again reminded me that for the longest time Ive been meaning to write to her and tell her how very very motivated and impressed I am by what she has done.
She has dedicated her life and created a business around helping young people achieve. She realised there were other ways to supplement what schools do in the very best of ways, and she has been able to create what looks like a hugely successful business that really helps young people. It’s not a business run to make money like some of the franchise tutoring schemes around, but one based on individual students needs. To get feedback like the feedback she talks about in that post illustrates how successful she is. She's been able to take that brilliance she exhibited as a young teacher and use it in her own inimitable way to make a real difference for young people.
And then there’s Kate as parent. She, along with her partner, have shared such personal but important thinking along the journey of parenthood. The deliberate decisions they have made and the conviction with which they explain their reasons why are incredibly inspiring to read. We talk about deliberate acts of teaching, but Kate and Dave have embraced some very deliberate acts of parenting that a lot of people sometimes leave to chance. They are proactive rather than reactive.
I have shared the stuff Kate has written with other young families so many times, but never quite got around to letting her know that.
I wish someone had been around writing that kind of stuff when I was a young parent. Not so I could copy all their decisions, but so that I was inspired into such deliberate understanding of what I wanted to achieve as a parent and then making deliberate decisions to go with those convictions.
So Kate, this is a long overdue post to say how much I admire what you have shared with us over the years.
How much I have learnt from you- just from following you on Facebook and reading your blogs.
And how important people like you are to the development and evolution of society as a whole.
I am only sorry its take me so long to get around to writing this!
With my greatest respect and admiration. Karyn