Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The 'Coolest' Principal......

This morning I was interviewed by Ayden Thomas on Heart Radio. This was because Ayden Lottering in Grade 5 nominated me for the Coolest Teacher Award in a competition run by the radio station. During the interview I had to answer as many questions within 60 seconds as I could, and all the questions were about ‘cool’ things that children at school know about. In preparation for this interview several grade 5 and 7 pupils spent time coaching me on the things that were ‘cool’ so I learnt about cool movies, cool clothes, cool people and cool songs. Reflecting on this event and the process we went through, made me realize a few things.

Firstly, and most importantly, these events are what makes school a memorable place for children. Yesterday afternoon I had to eventually throw the children out of my office to get them to go home at 17:00. We had just spent 2 hours chatting and laughing together, while they showed me how to walk, what to wear and they played me some songs I should know. This experience has left me warm inside as I loved interacting with my senior pupils, and they loved interacting with me! When I arrived at school today, dressed as they had suggested, they straight away said…….’Nou is jy ingejak!’ In ‘cool speak’ that means that they thought I was well dressed……I didn’t know that expression until yesterday afternoon!

And that brings me to my next thought…..How much do our children know that we don’t? What do they know that we should know? I typed 3 full pages of information that they told me about, at least half a page just on sms speak. Would you be able to translate this? OMG WUU2 LIB L2M LMHO Translated, this is: Oh my gosh! What you up to? (I am) lying in bed, listening to music and laughing my head off. How much more would our children learn from us as parents and teachers, if they saw us acknowledging their experiences in our teaching? So, a comprehension on Justin Bieber, his relationship with Selena Gomes and information about his songs is much more likely to gain positive responses than one about the boy who put his finger in the dyke to stop the flow of water.

Finally, the things that the children said were cool about me, were actually wonderful things about the school…the fact that we have animals around us, that they could come inside to play games and make puzzles outside my office on cold mornings, and that the teachers ‘play’ amongst themselves and with them…..That’s fly!