Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he takitini
My achievements are the result of working with people. The importance of working collaboratively in a team can never be underestimated. It requires a commitment from everyone, and in particular the nominated leadership.
As school communities we pride ourselves on working as a team. However, when I am working with kaiako (teachers), I find that they can sometimes be quite isolated in their classroom environment and, therefore, in their practice. The classroom seems to be their go-to zone — their security blanket — and everything in the classroom is driven by them, both the good and the bad.
Why not step out and observe good practice within other classrooms? Every school has staff who are experienced, innovative, and positive; observing good practice regularly is a great way to grow as a teacher.
Māori have always learned practical skills through observation. Fishing, hunting, gardening, weaving, carving, hangi — all those practical tasks were learned by observing, then pitching in and giving it a go. Then the knowledge and skills were passed on. Karanga, whaikōrero, and waiata were also learned through observation, listening, rote learning, and eventually performing those roles. These were the essential parts of the traditional Māori curriculum!
We, too, can learn from good practice, observation, listening, and asking questions. In this way we utilise the strengths of all those around us.
I have always been a big believer in mentoring. We identify those about us who we trust and respect professionally and personally. Then we meet regularly — formally and informally — to discuss a shared set of goals or outcomes. A key part of that relationship is that they come to observe our teaching practice to critique.
Teaching can be a lonely job if we don't work collaboratively. School leadership must encourage and lead this. E hoa mā karawhuia! Mahia te mahi.
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he takitini.
This post was originally posted on Whare’s blog.