Gunfire and explosions in the distance, looking out the classroom window to see a tank going past. No, I have not moved to a war zone - just Waiouru School. And, as McDonalds catch phrase says, I'm loving it!
I am back to reality from my time facilitating, but it is a reality with a twist. I have already caught myself slipping back to the old and familiar, given myself a swift kick and moved forward again.
This reality has a device per student, GAFE, and the encouragement to experiment. This reality has school as my focus for the majority of the week. Nothing new in that say those that know me. The difference is I am still managing to maintain some balance between work and relaxation - one thing I was determined to have after the balance returned to my life through CORE Education.
Relationship building has been the order of the day for the last two weeks. Letting my kids adjust to the changes that have come with having a new teacher as well as laying down the expectations I have of them in relation to learning and behaviour. I have done duty in the snow, duty while it is snowing and begun to meet the community thanks to parent interviews. I have even managed the two teams that ventured to Taihape last week to participate in the Ruapehu Sevens competition - gumboots and all!
We have started with a focus that is probably almost universal in schools at the moment - a focus on the Olympics complete with Thinkers Keys and learning being presented in a variety of ways. That said, it is only a part of a wider unit looking into feeling the fear and doing it anyway - speeches, dance, cross country and inter-school sport challenges all come under this umbrella also.
My new second home has been set up and an equally new routine of phone calls to the family takes a good chunk of my evenings. Mother Nature and her glistening robes of snow have made visits home to visit my whānau either short and sweet or non-existent over the last two weeks. A good chance to set up the rooms that got left in the two day rush to get moved into both the house and the classroom. Now both house and class look like someone cares about them. The cold has been ferocious after the luxury of living in Whanganui and thermals are my new best friend - including the nana nighties.
Am I glad I moved - yes! It is great to face a set of new challenges. There is still a way to go but the groundwork of getting to know my learners as people that happen to have their assessment results is ticked off and continuing to be developed. Now to the real work of looking at what the modern learning curriculum looks like for my kids, developing student agency (this is beginning already) and ensuring innovative teaching practice becomes the new normal. This too will bring a different form of gunfire and explosions - ones that indicate change.