Here’s to more marathons: real, virtual, figurative, and literal…

Still no peach.

Just as I did last year, for “My First Year of Teaching in 19 Emojis”, I thought it would be cool to round off this year with all of the core habits, ideas, gifts, and blessings that helped me survive and thrive this year. Particularly this year, which can only be described as a ‘doozy’ for everyone involved. This year has called on the resilience and skill I built up to 2019, even more than I ever thought it would. I’ve had to rework, reinvent myself more than once to get through, as I know we all have, and I…

A tale of narcissistic abuse and recovery.

I hope you’ll keep climbing, as I have.

I’ve tried to imagine how you will meet. Perhaps after the monthly urbanism meet-up he hosts, he’ll sidle up to you and engage you in conversation… You’ll be captivated by his charisma, his charm, the fact that you were the only person in the room to him. He laughs a little too loud at one of your jokes. You find it disarming. You will be disarmed.

Perhaps he already knows a little bit about you. He’s seen your work, or read your profile. Maybe he knows someone who knows you. He’ll play it up, how much he knows you already…

We’ve opened Pandora’s Box on tech inequity, but that’s just a symptom of another more insidious illness in our education system. Can we eliminate this disease, too?

What ARE we doing to make sure our students make it across?

Many New Zealanders know that our education system is structurally dysfunctional in a number of ways. True, it’s more functional than some, and of course we can be grateful we have one at all, but the statistics speak for themselves. Our teachers are still some of the most overworked and underpaid in the OECD, with a disproportionate number leaving the profession due to mental health concerns. We are ranked by UNICEF as one of the worst countries in the OECD for providing equitable education.

While some of our…

Red sky at night, tomorrow is anyone’s guess.

We meet at the corner of where her street meets ours, meets mine. No beats missed between our feet on the pavement to each other across the pedestrian crossing, no moment missed as I grin and raise my elbow. We bump. I fall into step with her, running back the way I came.

Normally, it would be a kiss and a tight hug like only we do. But this isn’t ‘normally’. This is new.

We haven’t run together for months, but it’s easy enough to fall back into that rhythm with each other. Sarah once told me she could feel…

Day zero, you told me it was over.

We were down in Raglan together, a trip I’d made on your behest, driving down after I’d finished my summer intensive for my Master’s programme. We were supposed to be driving on to your dad’s house after — or maybe back up to Auckland — but on the last day, you took me to the beach, and you dumped me. And then you left me to drive home. Alone.

I guess that was what was most convenient to you. No warning, no consideration, just whatever was easiest for you.

I drove two hours in blazing, coarse sunshine, nearly blinded by…

I wish I could tell you the shakiness goes away, but if it’s there the first time, it will likely continue to be. You live in the era of receiving your results digitally — frantically clicking ‘refresh’, hands shaking, eyes going fuzzy the moment the page loads, frantically scanning the page for the little bits that you think will make or break your future. Will your heart, lodged in your throat, soar or sink?

Those characters might have a lot riding on them. Perhaps your family’s hopes, your future plans, or even — “only” — your sense of self-worth. …

Don’t cry because it’s over, LOL because YOU DID IT.

Something about thousands of words, etc

It’s hard to know where to begin on a recap of the last year, so I decided to break down my first year of teaching — as part of the Teach First program — into a list of 19 emojis about things, ideas, metaphors, and habits that helped me survive. This is more of a reflection for me than advice for you (who am I to give anyone advice! I’m brand new to this) but I hope it’s interesting, and at the very least, insightful. For my fellow C19s, and other first-year teachers out there — congratulations. You’re awesome, you made it, and you deserve this chance to rest and recharge.

Twenty years ago, it was a very similar picture. Mum and I in the car, liquorice allsorts tucked in the drinks holder in the centre console, Tracy Chapman playing on the stereo. On our way to visit my brother. We talk about her day at work, and my day at school, and I lapse into future-thinking, thinking out loud about the things I am learning today and what they might prepare me for tomorrow.

It isn’t the same, though. Twenty years and a whole lot of life has passed between us.

In August, 20 years passed since we had to…

I spent the better part of 2013 living in Central Otago as a winemaking intern, and for the first couple of weeks lived in my mentors’ shed, working in the vines and cooking for my keep. I arrived in what I would learn was a ‘defining year’, marred by early inversion frosts that decimated many of our neighbour’s first growths — the only growths that can attain suitable ripening, this far south of the equator. …


I build intelligent protocols that learn how great teachers teach, so we can help our learners learn better.

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