Sunday, August 17, 2008

What's Our Kaupapa ?

My mate has gone and at 87 and we may say he had a “good innings” but it still is never easy to say goodbye. The one thing that I’ve always admired about Maori is they know how to say goodbye. It almost amazes me how pakeha NZ, sends their departed to a funeral home and a closed coffin appears at the church and thats it.
Although the Marae can be a daunting place for the pakeha, Maori shouldnt have to make excuses, the whole grieving process and respect for the grieving families is very much an example of the way learning should be. Maybe we should take a leaf from the kaupapa and see if there are linkages we can use.

1: Family is everything in terms of respect : note 1 - how many teachers know their Maori students families?
This may seem a bit silly that a teacher has to know a family to gain their respect.
While in the far north I met some very dysfunctional families, but through my friendship with firstly children, mums, and then through the rugby club, the men, I was able to raise the eyebrows to all the whanau. You wouldn’t want to meet some of these dudes in a dark alley, yet I’m able to pick up wasted hitchhikers ten years after leaving the valley and get treated with a “hey teach”.
2: Values: note 2 - you cant run two sets of values.
The children will respect your values as too will the families if you are constant. I had a community split by a church, you were either in or out. I sat on the fence but never changed my values. I know there were days when the churchies were rolling their eyes, but the bottom line was that the children were treated equally and the wiser church people could always be relied upon to settle the dust.
3: Sharing/Collaboration - being together, working collaboratively, joint success. Note 3 - How often do we as teachers want collaborative success ahead of individual results?
There is a strange feeling of satisfaction in working together to achieve, watching the contribution of everyone for this Tangi was humbling. A list of what the meal was for after the cemetery meant each person had one dish to prepare and they then grabbed the associate workers (anyone close by) to chop, peel and fetch. Meanwhile the programme was being prepared on the worlds oldest PC. Aunty was collecting a few bucks. A young nephew sent to town for supplies. Meanwhile the “never go to church” crowd gave their aroha by doing the hard work at the cemetery. Some of society’s poorest cases still found their way to contribute. Maybe this shows that we should never give up and that success at school is not as important as mana, and building mana to all is essential.
4: Self Esteem - Self Esteem and success is clearly missing in those who are failing yet they continue to come back to the well, they continue to help in the kitchen, fetch, clean, love but in their own way. The team effort of all over the last week shows how family, values, sharing and collaboration will build self esteem.

There are many success stories within our education system and to celebrate these is essential but my friends in the MOE hope that Ka Hikitia can be a start point for so much more.

Now the challenge is for us to learn a bit more, dig a bit deeper, take a big breath, and do it for poppa.
Watene Martin
e noho rä

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