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So I was thinking I want to be able to honestly record and reflect on the journey I am embarking on as a first time Principal...I didn't necessarily want the full reflections to be in a public space...then I remembered this space that Hazel set up...as close to the VPLD as it can get:)

So I figure I will reflect here!

My first reflection is on how I got here...and boy has it been a journey!

I am in my 7th year of teaching and have been a DP for 4 of those years...so my journey has been rapid and at times very tumultous

I think it was the times of uncertainty, change and a building disillusionment with the ethics of some of my fellow educators that led to my desire to change the paradigm....to try and implement my beliefs about education and what does/ does not work for our Tamariki...the kinds of believes that the amazing people I have been privileged to learn from have instilled in me! 

So after last years debacle and a year of coming second in interviews..." you are amazing, don't give up" being the most commonly spouted reason...with the subtext being...we agree with you, but you dared to speak out against your principal and the failings of so many leaders...so no thanks we won't employ you! I decided to change tack...if I'm too opinionated to be employed then I think I will gamble that what I have learnt through the years of rapid change and through the amazing people I have encountered like Catriona, maggie, marc etc can be implemented in my own school.....and finally I got lucky. 

I have my own school...it is tiny, has the best kids and teachers in NZ and most importantly has a community that wants me to help them to fight for the unique integrated curriculum they have designed over the years and help them to support our learners to be able to learn as they are ready, in truly context based education.....yeehaw!!

I  am truly so excited and honoured to be starting this journey

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Comment by joanna Wheway on August 2, 2017 at 18:43

Thanks Catriona...I sure will be shouting out:)

Comment by Catriona Pene on August 2, 2017 at 9:39

So pleased you didn't give up and that you have found your own piece of educational paradise to work in. Keep sharing and reaching out, there are lots of us who want to help you in this new and exciting role!

Comment by Hazel Owen on July 20, 2017 at 13:56

I am pretty well all things considered (some health challenges this year..!) Still doing heaps of mentoring and coaching and loving it :D

I'm so pleased you didn't give up. You have so much to offer. (Very chuffed that you found the quote resonated with you :D :D)

Sharing your journey (while, as you say, keeping things anonymous) I feel would be a real gift for other folks undertaking a similar journey ... or considering doing so. Thank you so much for giving me the OK to share.

Feel free to ask questions - and you know where we are if you'd like to chat through anything. We're here for you :) xx

Comment by joanna Wheway on July 14, 2017 at 20:32

Hazel..how great to hear from you...I have thought about you often over the past year so It is so wonderful to connect with you...how the heck are you?

As you point out it has been one hell of a journey! there where many points where I nearly gave up and went into shelf stacking!

Weirdly each time I nearly gave up the reason I kept going was because of people's belief in me...from my family, but also from people I have worked with over the years who kept pushing me on and affirming what I believe. and yes creative thinking has definitely become my metier! and it payed off...I have a job and what an opportunity it is!

I think I am in two minds about sharing....the really brave part of me thinks about the amazing people I have met this year who truly have students at the centre of their beliefs and for them I want to share my journey...so that just maybe it helps others who have been or are going through similar situations, to stay strong and keep on going. Another part of me...the " good grief I am a principal' part is aware of the legality of sharing my opinion in a public forum! 

That said...I  don't think anything I have said can identify my school so in that case ...go ahead and share!

By the way...I am a tough cookie and it takes a lot to make me feel emotional......but that quote just managed it...how do you always know what to say that is such a great match to the situation! you rock

x

Next steps for me....number 1...wish the VPLD was still running so I had you guys on tap still!

Number 2....try really hard to ensure I keep on reflecting on what I do so I keep students and teachers at the centre of what I do!

Comment by Hazel Owen on July 14, 2017 at 19:03

Wow! What a journey. It sounds as though you have had to stay strong and to think creatively to find the path to where you want to go.

Speaking out takes fortitude and courage. I recently read the following

The words we speak, then, are embodied words, solid and undeniable. Words once spoken are no longer only inside us where they remain indistinct from the rest of our being. Spoken words are words with which we must come into relationship, because they now stand outside us and confront us with their reality. Our responsibility for the words we speak is more concrete and unavoidable than it is for the words that go unspoken.
(Smith, 2014, Source)

It sounds as though you have found a community who have heard your words, and have found that they resonate with the reality you have described ... and are excited and supportive. 

I am looking forward to hearing about the next steps working with these wonderful students and teachers. Good on you Jo!! What do you feel your next steps will be?

P.S. You mentioned that you would like to reflect in a 'less public' space, so I haven't shared your post anywhere. Would you be OK if your post is featured in the Ethos newsletter, or would you prefer not? Absolutely no pressure - feel free let me know what you feel most comfortable with, please :)

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