I've spent the last 7 years in the most amazing school. I started teaching at Elm Park School in the Juniors. Exactly where I didn't want to be when I was in Teachers College - I stayed teaching Year 1/2's for 3 years! Funny how sometimes the things you think you'll hate are the ones you love. I've learnt a million and 1 things through my time at my school.
I've been given endless opportunities and have had the chance to excel and develop my own style as a teacher. In the last 2 years my abilities and knowledge in e-Learning has been recognised with the chance to become an e-learning specialist and lead a team of talented ICT lead teachers. These first 7 years of my career have been a huge opportunity and I have loved every part. I have watched students grown and change - some have been in my classes for 4 years over the span of my teaching and have also watched me grow as a teacher. In the specialist role, having the chance to work with all the students across the school has been amazing... even made me want to go back to teaching Juniors... almost! :) But, balancing 2 jobs in 1 day for a confessed workaholic (thanks Mum and Dad for those genes!) is hard and my heart really is in the classroom making these things and more happen for my class, at the moment! So the decision was made that 2009 was the year to move onwards to new challenges - a new school and to return to the classroom fulltime!
The students I've had the privilege to teach in my 7 years has been immense... they are such cool kids at EPS. Every single one has taught me something about myself and the way I teach - they have made me the teacher I am today. At the Cultural Celebration evening many of our past pupils return - having them come up for chats and catch ups (or even just to show me how much taller than me they now are!) is mind boggling. Staying at 1 school for a while gives you the chance to see whole families grow and learn - it gives you links and roots that can never be shifted. My farewell assembly from the kids was overwhelming. I will NEVER forget the dance off with the boys... many laughs and many tears. I thank these kids for everything they have taught me and I dream big things for each and everyone I have taught.
I could never begin to thank the older people who have made me who I am today - without these people, I would be a different person. But I thank them and hope that they do truly realise what a difference they have made to me. I've had people around me that have seen the light in what I do and encouraged me and pushed me, when I didn't see it. People who love my crazy nature and tolerate it - if not celebrate it alongside me! It's these people that I'm finding the hardest to move from - that, for me, is a good thing. I have made friendships that will span a lifetime and these people are more than just colleagues. From my fellow e-Learning nerd - BJ, to my Auckland Mum to RC to KT who was the first massive influence for me at EPS to LA & GT who have been a lot of inspiration and support to LR, SR, LC, RV, AH, VA and CD who are all stunning teachers. These people are all massive influences because of the people they are and have been to me - I thank them for everything they know they have taught me and everything they don't know they've taught me.
As with all experiences there have been challenges. Ones I've known how to face and ones I haven't. Once again the people who have surrounded me have helped, encouraged and reminded me of who I am and where I am. It's been a hard climb in places but I have learnt a lot about myself and that is always a good thing. And as they say - Challenges are what makes us stronger.
My decision to leave has not been an easy one. But I think, I know, that the formula that I am heading off to is right. So for now, 1 mountain is moved and another awaits...
Image used under CC: Ryan Smith Photography