Last Tuesday a group of international guests from our global network partner Teach For All were welcomed into Onehunga High School by a group of year 10 Māori students who are taught by Cohort 2016 participant Charles Looker.
We were lead into the school marae, ‘Te Haerenga’, with a karakia from one of the students, who we were later told has been one amazing example of the students who have developed confident leadership skills since the start of 2016. It was exciting to see the impact that the Teach First NZ participants have within their schools. Today we witnessed this first hand by seeing three participants in action as we were guided around the school by Deputy Principal of Onehunga High School, Jono Smith, who is currently on secondment to our staff team.
The one point that all the teachers made very clear in our conversations with them, was how the students are everything and that relationship is key to seeing a student soar in their education, and beyond. We could see that the teachers all held this as the most important aspect of their teaching, and it was evident that they had built these relationships in the way they interacted whilst teaching.
Emma Howden (Cohort 2016) said “the biggest challenge in seeing the students reach their full potential was getting past what the kids think they’re capable of…they won’t care about what your opinion of what they’re capable of is, unless they know you care about them, and this is something that is established through relationship.”
As we walked around the campus on the sunny but super crisp morning with our guests, we were acknowledged and greeted by all the students we passed with a welcome smile, or a giant wave. William Watling (Cohort 2014) said “I try to work by the ethos that the students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” And often this goes far beyond the classroom, by seeing the students not merely as “students” but as people. You can’t know each students situation until you take the time to know them.
Operations & Communications Coordinator at Teach First NZ