William Watling at the 2014 ASB Polyfest

Voices - 21 March 2014

Many Teach First NZ participants get involved in their school’s ASB Polyfest contribution. William Watling from our 2014 Cohort shares his involvement with his school’s Tongan group.

In the days leading up to the ASB Polyfest, the weather forecasts were for a storm. The Massey High School Tongan group dances were both to be performed on the Friday – the storm hit on Saturday so my prayers were answered! Friday was perfect – the weather was fine, people were parking streets away, and hoards of performers and supporters came to cheer on their friends and whanau.

At Polyfest, there is a requirement for a teacher to walk the performers on stage, and this year, as a first year teacher, I was given that honour. It is not a simple task as one has to make sure the students sit in the middle of the stage, equidistant from both ends, facing the judges and the audience. I was determined to get it right on my first go, so I inspected the seating several times before facing the audience.

The group performed well and had a good time, though it was unfortunate that we did not place this year. Mind you, we had started preparing two weeks later than every other team.

Overall it was an awesome experience in my first term teaching on the Teach First NZ programme.

William Watling has a degree in Science (Biology and Geography) and a Graduate Diploma in Arts from the University of Auckland. He is currently teaching English in Massey High School.