‘Politics can not decide if we should rise and be your hands and feet’  – Solution, Hillsong United

Yes that is a Hillsong United quote, and yes I know Hillsong is a prosperity doctrine promoting church, however I am affirming the truth that is in this song……now on with the post…

On Friday I had the most fantastic opportunity to work with the tamariki in a bilingual class. I was incredibly blessed as this was the second time I had taught them, the first being a few months ago. They were years 0-3 (age 5-8) and there were around 13 in the class.  Last time when I was in the class my attitude was not as it should have been. In particular there was one child who was particularly grotty and I took it upon myself to tell the other Kaiako (teacher) in the year 4-6 class who are next door, when he left early that day I was rather pleased as I thought he was a right pain in the butt. She looked at me very strangely, not because I was wrong about his behaviour, but because she didn’t see the child this way. In fact on observing and reflecting on her teaching style over the last few months (and after talking to God about it) she showed a lot more grace, mercy and love than I did towards the children with her direct and indirect care.

Anyway when I turned up last Friday the child in question was not having a good day and neither were a number of the other class mates. We had quite  a few verbal tirades that involved severe cussing, a severe punch up (with child in question), a couple of temper tantrums and so on. However instead of trying to objectify the issue as I had last time I took a different tack and talked quietly to the children letting them know their behaviour was wrong and then giving them the opportunity to count to 10 (to cool off) before telling me about their favourite place (which distracted them from what they were originally angry about) before suggesting that they go find some other work to do or to come with me and I would help them. 

I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that God gave me to work with these children again. They are very challenging and from the stories many of them tell and the way they speak home is not always the best place for some (not all) of them. Thus why the Kaiako uses a lot of grace and love in her teaching while being firm at the some time… something I think I did a lot better this time…instead of seeing the students as ‘students’ I started to listen to their stories which while it didn’t make the discipline or behavioural problems go away it certainly made me understand more.

Things I learnt:

  • Whaia Lisa’s Te Reo needs much more work – the Tamariki were constantly correcting me, very gently and often with big grins on their faces.
  • A Maori Phrase book is only useful if you have it opened on the right page … I did however get some phrases out!
  • When 3 children are throwing a temper tantrum and parents are watching….pray….
  • When in assembly and sitting next to principal and children are doing things they shouldnt be pretend that the children are not yours ….(it worked the other teachers eventually fixed it)
  • Always check that small children have not hidden themself underneath large cushions in an attempt to hide from the class bully.
  • Do not take maths in the afternoon on a friday.