Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mā te tuakana te teina e tōtika. Mā te teina te tuakana e tōtika.

Mā te tuakana te teina e tōtika. Mā te teina te tuakana e tōtika. 
The older will lead the younger and the younger will lead the older.

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

One of the things I love seeing in our multi level classes at school is the way tuakana teina operates and that the learning is not always from the older to the younger but is just as much the other way around. There’s something a little bit magic about walking through a classroom and seeing a 10 year old working alongside a 17 year old and seeing them work together and help each other.

I think its also one of the special things about the teaching profession. You end up working alongside people of such a range of ages and you end up with friends and mentors of all different ages too. 

The people I've learnt the most from in my journey as a teacher and as a leader are all teachers who at some stage or other were maybe in a position where I was their direct or indirect leader. I might have been “in charge” of leading them but in reality I have learnt more from them than I ever thought possible.

Some of the people Ive learnt the most from are the people Ive collaboratively taught with. Collaborative teaching, at its best, gets rid of the boss culture. You are in it together and the normal lines of power and control don’t work if you are going to make the collaborative teaching arrangement really work for kids. You pick up on each others strengths and help each other develop areas that aren’t strengths. You challenge your co-teachers, and are challenged by them, in a way teachers just cant do when they are working in single cells. It is no accident that I have learnt the most from those that I have significantly co-taught and co-lead with.

When I think about it I have two or three close mentors and they are all younger than me, and in some cases significantly less experienced. But something about their knowledge and understanding works for me and they are who I mostly turn to for advice and challenge. 
Mā te tuakana te teina e tōtika. Mā te teina te tuakana e tōtika.

Tuakana teina is not about age or even about experience. Its about knowing who is going to challenge you in a constructive way and help you continue to learn regardless of your position or theirs.

So to those mentors who I turn to often, not just for an ear when things go wrong, but who I turn to because I know they will challenge me and not just accept it is what I say because it is me that says it, Thank you. 

You know who you are. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karyn
    This is a great post and has reminded me that we ALL have something to offer, no matter age or experience. We can learn from all. I've written a very short reflective blog post based on this post: