Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reflecting on the week that was...

WOW, what a week.
I left home very early on Monday morning, boarded a flight for Auckland, via Wellington.  Travelling with the team to Kia Aroha College, then across to Ormiston.  WOW, both schools were amazing.  
The welcome to Kia Aroha was perhaps the most moving, spiritual welcome I have had the pleasure of experiencing.  The power, feeling and aroha in the waiata was inspiring. Anne Milne welcomed us and challenged us to think again about culturally responsive education. I have many, many wonderings from the visit and know that I will hold her challenges close as I visit my school and work this year on my own cultural responsiveness.
A visit to Ormiston was a chance to see a slice of a day of a brand new school, who have been gifted a vision to uphold.  With a rapidly growing, diverse cultural community they are continually working to grow their innovative learning environment and pedagogy.  It was wonderful to see Caro again.
A journey to Hamilton on the bus, a dinner on the balcony at the Ibis, a walk along the Waikato river and day one was complete. 
Day two was an early start at Waikato Uni with the Te Toi Tupu consortium.  A day of challenging our thinking as we face new pathways followed.  A walk around campus, then dinner, and day two was complete.
Day three was another very early start and a morning as a consortium and the afternoon in our LwDT team.  Helen led us on a very powerful journey through new approaches, new confidence, new ways.  Getting my steps today involved a treadmill inside due to continued rain.  A dinner on the balcony at the Ibis was followed by a wonderful night at the Craft Bar and Wonder Horse with the stunning CLA girls.
Day four was a stunning day with our LwDT team at Novotel.  We had a variety of sessions, interactions, and fun learning times.  All too soon the day was over and we parted.  Leigh took me with her to Dianne's.  It was wonderful to see her again. Sue picked me up later and I had a wonderful family evening.
Day five, Friday dawned with VPLD, UChoose and consultancy online meetings.  The day flew by in a rush.  A walk around the Lake with Sue concluded the day.
Day six, Saturday and what an adventure we had.  R and R cycled and I walked from Cambridge to the Avantidrome.  What a stunning cycleway.  It was incredibly hot and we relaxed with a cold drink at the velodrome and took in a few cycle races.  Off we headed for the walk home, HOT!  After a yummy platter for lunch I checked out the retail in Cambridge and bought two stunning tops, before meeting up with my sister after work.  Another walk around the lake saw a stunning 31,000+ steps for the day!  A fun night in with carpool karaoke wound up day six.
Day seven dawned with packing up and off for an adventure.  After looking around the shops, a coffee and a trip to Browser's bookstore we headed to the gardens!  WOW!!! What a stunning masterpiece these gardens are.  I felt as if I had been to an Ellerslie Flower Show.  The Summer Garden Festival added an extra dimension with bands and singing and entertainment galore.   And before I knew it, here I was, in a plane heading home.  What a week! A stunning mix of work, learning, socialising, family time, retail therapy, exercise, food, coffee and a whole lot of laughter.  What more could I ask for?
So to look towards this next week!
I am very excited to be beginning scoping my new schools for 2016.  How exciting to be making new connections, looking at new possibilities, embracing opportunities, collaborating where and whenever possible, with opportunities for clustering where needs meet. There is something truly wondrous about beginnings. With my focus this year on 'mentoring mindfulness' I am acutely aware of the impact of all actions and words.  Again, Fionna's words are my mantra - every action or word of ours serves to include or exclude.  

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