Following the C17 Journey: Waikaraka Ruwhiu-Toms

Voices - 24 February 2017

Participants of Cohort 2017 share their part of the journey on the Teach First NZ Programme. From the Summer Initial Intensive beginning November 2016 and right up to the end of 2018 when they complete their two years on the programme, we will hear from different participants to gain insights into their schools and communities.

A few weeks now since the school year began and here we read the thoughts of another of our C17 participants, Waikaraka. Teaching Te Reo Māori at Otahuhu College, Mrs Ruwhiu-Toms shares why she's chosen to teach, she believes the students "are the future, our future leaders, and with the opportunity to learn, and establish core values, they can be the greatest future leaders."

Te tīmatanga

Waikaraka Ruwhiu-Toms

Ngā mihi mahana ki te whanau whānui o Te Ako Mātātupu. He kōrero tēnei i raro i te hūmarie mō to awhina, manaakitanga, tautoko i runga i toku huarahi ki te whai mahi kaiako.

As we put on our invisible teaching cloaks every morning, we wonder what possibilities and opportunities for learning will come our way. We instinctively prepare our minds for the interaction and contact required to participate in meetings, organise different classes, understand each student and their learning all the while discovering who we are as teachers.

Will we inspire? Will we encourage? Will we motivate? And will we survive?

In beginning my chapter as a Te Reo Maori teacher, I cast my mind back to my own Māori teacher. The integrity, passion and understanding she showed my peers and I was immeasurable. The confidence she had in our potential influenced my own academic ventures and the desire to become a teacher. She was inspiring, she was encouraging, she was motivating and she survived the many years of students that she taught.

Sitting in my classroom, surrounded by my students, I feel their wairua, the wairua of their whanau, and their tipuna. This revitalises my soul and allows me to give all I can in the learning environment. I want my students to have the opportunity to succeed in every aspect of their lives. It is not just about the here and now, but as I reflect on my own journey, it is about laying the foundation for a brighter future, their future.

E ai ki te whakatauki, Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi, As an old net withers another is remade. This speaks volumes to me as I lead for ngā Rangatira mō apōpō. They are the future, our future leaders, and with the opportunity to learn, and establish core values, they can be the greatest future leaders.


Click hear the previous blog entry for the C17 journey, as told by Sarah Dodd