A new chapter

Note: Surnames have been left out to maintain the privacy of the individuals mentioned below

Several months ago now, I taught my last class and resigned from teaching after having done it for the past three years.

It really wasn’t an easy decision to make. I was leaving part-way through the year, right when I had establised a rapport with a new set of students and built even stronger connections with existing students. The Te Wāhi maker space that I was involved in was doing well, with many coming to the weekly Innovation Workshop I co-hosted. My confidence in the classroom was at its highest, having finally found my stride and style that I enjoyed using to help students with their work.

So, why leave?

There were a few key reasons. The main reason being my wife getting a collections/archives related job in Wellington, one that she has always dreamed of. There wasn’t an equivalent in Auckland, so we would have to relocate no matter what. The logical thing for me would have been to find another teaching role here in Wellington - after all, there is a national shortage of teachers even now and (provided you are capable) one can pick up a full-time or relief role relatively easily. I would start again at another school, and that would be that.

But I realised this wasn’t possible for me. I had given so much to my previous school because I believed in its staff and students very deeply, and felt truly invested in what was going on. Many of these students, some of whom I had been teaching since they were 14 years old, were now growing into young adults realising their dreams. In the three years I have been teaching, I have worked with close to 1000 different kids (likely a bit over if I counted up). I knew I couldn’t come close to that level of energy at a new school (or, it would take a very long time).

With moving to a new place, I thought - why not have a completely fresh start? Try something different, and begin picking back up the things that I had to shelf for the past few years that I have been teaching. I had neglected many parts of my own life, namely my friends and family, in constant pursuit of this job which wasn’t healthy. Doing something more black and white could help me leave work at the door when I come home everyday.

I am in a completely new job and field now (IT related), but I still think being a teacher in the classroom is one of the most rewarding things ever. It is a shame that the state of education and teaching in this country is as dire as is it, because on the job you have inclinations of what it could truly be. No other profession has made me laugh, shout and cry as much as teaching. It really gives you a sense of what is meant by the human condition (as cliche as that sounds), and just how much education can help shift social class barriers.

I will miss the team that I worked with dearly - Robin, Francis, Andre, Linda, Sandra, Tina, Sam and Motu. They are some of the most hardworking, funny, and talented people I have ever met. Others such as Shar, Joe and Jill were instrumental in me finding my feet when I first started teaching, to whom I am forever grateful.

Most of all, I will miss all of the students that I have been lucky enough to work with over the years - Bo, Isobel, Scarlett, Matthew, Eleanor, Stanley, George, Hidetomo, Taiji, Anne-Marie, Gabriella, Isaac, Violet, Lucas, Oscar, Sofie, Nathan, Sam, Aliza, Zara, Reese, Ruby, Amber, Sylvia, Christina, Hamish, Freddie, Olivia, Finn, Molly, Andrei, Seungjin, Ben, Aedan, Will, Noah, Callum, Jude et al. Thank you.

Bending towards the sun,