Friday, January 27, 2017

Letter to A6 2017

27 January 2017

Dear A6

I have been introduced to you now and you will come to know me as Mrs Harland, Mrs

H, Kate. I am writing this letter so you can get to know me better in a short amount of

time, in a way that is hopefully engaging.

Firstly, I love being your teacher. I don't really have words to describe how nervous I

was about moving schools, but honestly I feel like I've come home. Whangaparaoa and

in particular A6 will become part of my heart in rapid succession.

I look forward to engaging with you in the early days and can’t wait to meet you for the

30 minute ‘getting to know each other’ interview. I know our "class culture" is going to

develop into something awesome. Next week we’ll start to talk about our class

agreement. I believe you will create something we can be proud of. I have no idea what

we'll get that to look like yet. That will be your voice and your call.

There are a couple of things I deeply believe and I hope you are able to recognise them

while getting to know me. I believe our A-Team space is a safe place! For everyone. I

believe your potential is limitless and I will do anything I can to help you reach it. I

believe kindness and thought should always be the default. Yes, I want you to be neat

and responsible and mature. But mostly, I'd like you to be kind.

I have thought about what to share with you a lot. I'm older and been an educator for a

long time, travelled and lived a family life. Many experiences in my lifetime could be

shared but I have to think of just the things that really define me. It's really tough and for

reasons you may not anticipate.

Who I am, why I'm here, what I love, are things that have shifted because of three

changes that were unanticipated anticipated events in 2015. By that I mean that

although they were things that were always going to happen they all did so in rapid


I went back to teaching. I’ll start there. I never realised how being connected to

education as an educator was so important to me until I wasn't. The shiny surface -

travel, hotels, meeting incredible educational minds seemed glamorous when

contrasted with school, any school. It was what I had been doing and I was very glad to

be back in a forward focussed school environment and culture last year. It's not easy

changing jobs but it's better than staying in one where you're not happy or successful.

Then my husband and I separated. It's long and complicated as anything like that is but

essentially it was better to be happy and that seemed best done apart. We have two

amazing and successful children. Matt is 17 and Hannah 15, and they are adjusting ok

but it won't be easy for some time I anticipate. I live in Waiwera and was working at

Auckland Normal Intermediate in Mt Eden last year.

The reason I had moved to Waiwera was to look after my mum. Mum had had a huge

operation in April 2015 to remove a tumour from her stomach. Not long after that we

found out the cancer cells had behaved like a firework and exploded inside her. She

passed away on the 29 of December 2015 which gave us a very different Christmas

that year. After she'd gone I wanted to stay here. It's stunning and after a year in

probate it looks like it is at last going to be mine.

Finally, something I need you to know is that I trust you and I respect you. I have lived

my life doing that. A friend and colleague told me I must share that with you. It's his

assessment of me as a teacher as well as a person when I meet someone for the first

time. I don't like to be 'judged' and I don't like 'pre-judging'. That doesn't mean I won't

but I'd like to think I base my judgements on real personal experience. So until you

prove otherwise "I trust you". Same goes for you. Please let me know if I damage the

trust we have as a day family ever. It's very important to me and I want to make sure it

stays intact even when we're tired or grumpy or sad or sick. I will strive to make school

fun and listen to your learning thoughts, planning from them :-).

2017 is going to be amazing. Teaching is my favourite work thing and that means it

doesn't really feel like 'work'. Is it ok to let you know if it ever starts to feel like work and

would you agree to collaborate with me to get it back on track? I look forward to reading

this again at the end of the year and reflecting on all the 'good times'!

Kind regards

Your teacher 2017