Teaching Te Reo Māori and Making a Difference

Teaching Te Reo Māori and Making a Difference

Apr 23, 2024 - Voices

Billy Revell, our Pule o le Nu’u | Community Lead sat down with Charles Looker our Awekura | Kaihautū Lead and Kairapu (Alumni) of 2016. Hear what Charles has to say about his journey with Ako Mātātupu and teaching.

My Journey with Ako Mātātupu

Every journey into the world of teaching begins with a step, sometimes into the unknown. For me, that step was joining Ako Mātātupu, a commitment not just to educate but to affirm. My journey wasn't about changing careers; it was about embracing my roots, teaching Te Reo Māori, and integrating my passion for music into a meaningful educational context.

The Intersection of Language, Culture and Education

Culture and language are the soul of a community, and as a teacher, I had the unique opportunity to nurture this soul within the walls of a classroom. With my background in music, my role evolved to build bridges, teaching Te Reo Māori, my language, my identity. This was no ordinary teaching position. It was a chance to celebrate and strengthen cultural identity among young minds, a mission far beyond the traditional curriculum.

First-Year Trials of Administration vs. Passion

Every first-year teacher faces challenges, but mine were juxtaposed between administrative duties and the passionate delivery of my language and culture. The administrative tasks were daunting, admittedly my "weakest muscle," but they couldn't overshadow the fulfilment derived from cultural teaching. This balance between duty and passion defined my first year, illustrating that while teaching is never easy, it is profoundly rewarding.

Challenging the Stereotypes of Low-Decile Schools

Joining a low decile school under the banner of Ako Mātātupu Teach First NZ meant confronting stereotypes and realities. The resources were limited, and so were some perspectives. However, being a product of a similar background, I could offer something beyond conventional teaching – hope and perspective. My role was to illustrate that, despite the scarcities, there was ample opportunity for growth and contribution to their community.

Teaching Te Reo Māori and Making a Difference

Lasting Connections

The true measure of a teacher's impact often transcends academic achievement; it lies in the relationships forged over time. The connection with students doesn't end at the school gate. I've experienced this profoundly, encountering former students in everyday settings, sharing stories of their progress and dreams coming to fruition. These moments are reminders of the lasting impact teachers can have, far beyond the confines of the classroom.

Sowing Seeds for the Future

Teaching is not a path for those seeking immediate gratification. Instead, it is a commitment to plant seeds and nurture them patiently. My journey in education, particularly within the communities served by Ako Mātātupu and Teach First NZ, has shown me the profound long-term impact educators can have. Witnessing former students thrive is a subtle yet powerful testament to the collaborative effort between teacher and student.

Embracing Teaching Te Reo Maori with Teach First NZ

Teaching Te Reo Maori is not just an educational role but a vital act of cultural preservation and empowerment. Reflecting on my own experiences with Teach First NZ, I've seen firsthand how integrating Te Reo Maori into classrooms revitalises not just student engagement but also their cultural identity. It's a journey filled with profound personal and communal rewards, offering a unique opportunity to contribute to the legacy and resilience of the Maori language.

Considering a career in education? Explore the transformative path of teaching Te Reo Maori through the Teach First NZ education leadership programme. This unique opportunity allows you to make a significant impact while earning a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. With a full scholarship covering the programme and a salary from your partner school, you can focus fully on developing your skills and shaping the future of New Zealand's youth. Join us in nurturing the next generation by bringing the rich heritage of Te Reo Maori into our schools and communities.

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