The New Kids on the Block – Tu Meke!

Posted Thursday March 14, 2024

One of the great joys of my mahi is going into classrooms to see kaiako, teachers, and ākonga, students, in action. The sharing of mātauranga, knowledge, is the lifeblood of any kura, school, and I have been privileged to see and hear some wonderful things involving our youngest rangatahi, the Year 7s, recently. I have seen them in the workshop for Materials, participating in PE, practising waiata in Te Ao Tikanga and learning basic vocabulary in Science as well as a range of other classes.  

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

On Rātu, Tuesday this week, as I dropped into 7P, “Ms B”, Julie Burrows, and her Religious Education class were just winding up a section of their lesson based on our three values of Compassion, Community and Commitment. They were looking at the scripture associated with the values and then tying that into the statement which sets the tone of the classroom and what happens in it – "Learning to Find Jesus in the Face of Others."

One door down, 7C were involved in a Social Science lesson, making good use of their devices as they learned about Te Tiriti o Waitangi. During this high impact literacy lesson, ākonga and kaiako, Liza Wilson, were engaged in a shared reading exercise about the context of the signing of Te Tiriti.  

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers
Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

Pyper-Rose, Quincy, Bree, Connor and Olivia from 7C accepted my invitation to spend some of their morning tea talking with me while they refueled for the next two periods. Later, Kaleb, Alice, Mya, Junha and Charlotte from 7P spent part of lunch sharing their thoughts with me. What a fantastic time that was for me as they candidly and articulately shared their experiences so far over the seven weeks that they have been with us at St Peter’s, Hato Petera. I was thrilled with what they had to say and rushed to share it with all the kaiako of Year 7. This is part of the message I sent them:

I had the great pleasure of talking with ten rangatahi from our two Year 7 classes today. They are SO happy to be at St Peter's! They are loving it here, saying that it's "fun" and "great". Summarising their words: they feel welcomed, very much at home and that the teachers are all kind, caring and supportive. They are loving all the different classes that they go to and feel that they are learning new things every day. They feel that their learning is “helping them to know more about the world”. Science, PE, Tikanga and the Technology subjects were a hit and the aroma from the Foods room is making them very keen to get to that on their rotation! One young person who didn't come from St Mary's enjoyed that “there was more about Jesus and God” 😊

And so, despite it being literally "heavy" (all the books in the bags!) and "harder on the brain at first until you get used to it", all ten rangatahi would happily go back to their primary school to tell everyone the good news and encourage them to come to our place.

I’m very grateful to these ākonga for being so open with me. Their excitement when they were talking with me was palpable, and we covered off everything from the great view from C floor, the chocolate milk at the canteen to the “kind words and encouragement” from their teachers. While they were refueling on sandwiches, chips, carrot sticks and hummus, they had no idea that they were feeding my soul.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank the kaiako working with these wonderful rangatahi for their mahi. I would also like to thank the whānau who have entrusted these precious taonga to us for six hours every day. Ngā mihi nui, thank you very much indeed for helping us to live out our vocations of service with these special rangatahi.

Bridget Ryan
DP Teaching and Learning