Teach First NZ CEO, Shaun Sutton, reflects on the recent Teach For All Global Conference, held in Auckland.
Since joining my first Teach For All Global Conference back in 2011 in India, I've always wanted to host one here in New Zealand—but truly never imagined it would be so soon and while leading a relatively young programme in the Teach For All network! That said, I am so proud to be reflecting now on what was a thrilling, challenging, and thought-provoking three days in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Further Together 2015 aspired to push the Teach For All global community’s thinking about the possibilities for expanding educational opportunity in our respective local contexts and around the world. The key challenge presented to Global Conference attendees was: “How will we work in partnership with our communities and other stakeholders in pursuit of our ultimate aims for students?”
One of my personal highlights was when the entire conference was welcomed onto the marae, or sacred place, of the local Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei iwi, or Māori tribe. New Zealand’s bi-cultural foundations are so fundamental to our country today, and must be treasured for generations to come. The challenge for New Zealand’s education system, and so many education systems around the world, is how we can ensure bi- and multi-culturalism is respected and brought to the heart of how our teachers and education advocates go about their work.
It is for this reason that I was so keen to open up the 2015 Global Conference to hundreds of local New Zealand educators and champions of fair education for all. This happened on the final day, when more than 100 locals came together with the 200 international guests to participate in a day of inspirational keynotes and deep dives exploring how true and authentic partnerships can drive positive change in education.
While Teach For All’s international delegates will have left New Zealand infused with our country’s unique spirit, our local attendees came away in admiration of the global network’s work and enthused about the potential of the approach to significantly shift the needle in education, both in New Zealand and around the world. While the dust after the busyness of the conference has settled, the buzz is continuing in New Zealand, and I know our education community is so grateful for the opportunity given to Teach First NZ to host Further Together: The 2015 Teach For All Global Conference.
Hoea ngātahitia ki kō atu
Paddling together takes us further together