Blog post links to PTC 4: demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of personal professional practice
PTC5: show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning
This blog post is something I have been adding, deleting, changing, removing and altering since the beginning of the year (2016). I attended Actively Engaged as Pasifika Leaders through T.R.C.C in the July 2016 school holidays, nearly a year ago and I am still on the road of discovery…..what type of teacher am I, what type of leader am and what type of leader do I want to be.
In order to know where I am going, I need to know who I am, where I am from and who came before me.
Tena Koutou, Malo e Lelei, my name is Selina Peauafi. I lived in Orongomai (Upper Hutt) and the beautiful valley has been my home for the majority of my life. I am 31 years old, I have a son who is 10 years old who is Maori/Tongan/Kiwi and just as he does, I live in many different worlds and walk many different paths.
I am second generation Tonga, I am half Tongan and can only can understand being told off in Tongan. I have been to Tonga twice once. I currently understand and speak more Te Reo than Tongan. My Dad move to New Zealand when he was 21 years old, his first time on a plane was to his new home. My Mum was born and grow up in Upper Hutt where she works and lives with my Dad my our family home.
I have been teaching in the primary sector for the past seven years, four of those at St Joseph’s School, Upper Hutt and this will be my third year as a team leader. St Joseph’s is a multicultural school with our learners ranging from year 1 to year 8. I teach year 5/6 learners in a collaborative environment alongside two teachers. I am the team leader of my area and lead teacher of Kaitiaki; a Maori/Pasifika parents group which was set up five years ago to be the voice within our school and to support in raising the achievement of our Maori and Pasifika learners.
Over the course of the past year since writing this blog post, I have reflected on my interactions and the part I play in the senior management team. When you step into a leadership role no one gives you a handbook and off you go. Based on your values, your prior experiences, knowledge and influential leaders that have come before you, you start to formulate some sort of leadership model. I grew up with a strong sense of respect towards my elders and still have those values embedded in how I interact with people in social and work situations.
I often find it hard to question what has been said by the principal and deputy because my automatic gut instinct is to comply out of respect. This does not mean I just sit back and accept everything that comes my way but I have to digest, process and then act. The first year being part of the senior management I sat in the weekly meetings, tried not to make eye contact and prayed no one would ask me a question. I attended the NZEI Fono 2016 and Caroline Mareko made a comment- You are either at the table or on the menu and this analogy hit home for me. I was at the table but didn’t have the confidence to be present at the table.
This past year since attending Actively Engaged as Pasifika Leaders through T.R.C.C I have been working on developing my growth mindset while still upholding my cultural values. I went to see Sose Annandale principal of Russel Primary at the NZEI Pasifika 2016 fono as I was interested to hear her speak about her journey as a Pasifika Leader. I was amazed at some the statistics that were shared in regards to Pasifika/Maori Teachers, Management, and Principals based on New Zealand Integrated Teacher Head Count data collected for April 2015.
Pasifika Teachers: 1,351
Palangi Teachers: 39,247
Pasifika Management: 53 ( 14=M, 39=F)
Palagi Management: 2,061 (561=M, 1,500=F)
Pasifika Principals: 31 (16=M, 15=F)
Palangi Principals: 1,869 (987=M, 882=F)
I was totally blown away by the lack of representation of Pasifika teachers in Managment and Principals roles, especially Pasifika women. The challenge has been set to ensure our Pasifika teachers get themselves at the table. I aspire to lead by ensuring that my voice is heard when I sit at the table.
Pictures from T.R.C.C- Actively Engaged as Pasifika Leaders