This morning I arrived at 9:00 at CORE Education in ChristChurch. I was so thrilled to visit this awesome bunch of people in this beautiful, modern building! Also though, I was equally excited to start my Te Reo Puāwai Māori course taught by the amazing facilitator Gemma Stewart!
Below is the introductory slide from our course- "Te Reo Māori" means the Māori lanuage. Puāwai means to blossom or flourish. I think the title might mean something like "Let's flourish learning the Māori language". This course will teach us about this indigenous language and also encourage us to practice good teaching methods so that we can teach the reo (the language) to tamariki (children).
Below, Gemma Stewart is teaching us a Waiata. This one in a non denominational blessing and has a couple of hard words for me but I will be practicing it over the next several weeks! I think a Waiata is a song that has been written by someone from the Māori culture to share an experience or purpose. The practice of singing or chanting a Waiata helps to pass on important and meaningful Māori knowledge and traditions.
We practiced simple conversations in Te Reo Māori (the Māori language). I struggled quite a bit. I know the vowel sounds and some other sounds and when we practiced as a group I thought I was fine. When I was asked to speak I suddenly froze up and could not think. I also had trouble keeping up wit the Waiata
My classmates are all very sweet and patient. They work in a variety of school settings and positions and all of them are working towards more inclusive school practices. A number of the students have been exposed to some reo (language) but a couple of the students were also struggling like me so while I hate to see the struggle, it was nice to not feel alone. I love my classmates and we will continue this course in a synchronous online setting with a final hui (meeting) on April 22nd to celebrate what we have learned!
After class, I was lucky enough to steal some time from the very busy Paula Eskett @librarypaula. Paula is a rock star librarian who now works with CORE Education, supporting schools. She has generously agreed to assist me in identifying contacts for my Fulbright Inquiry project. Paula has already been a tremendous help; I love the way librarians are always willing to share what they know! I know I am going on and on about it but meeting up with Paula today will be a big boost for my project. She understands what I am trying to accomplish and has intimate knowledge of the people, networks, and schools that can provide information, support, and guidance on my journey!
I got very comfortable at CORE and did not really want to leave when it was time to go home because I felt like I was already home. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!!!
Sue is a teacher and school librarian living in Atlanta, GA, USA. She was in NZ as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher from Feb-June 2016.