18.05.2010 15 °C
At long last I am confirmed and getting my number from the NZ Teachers Council. This has been a long drawn out affair and quite dramatic. I thought I might even have to drive to Wellington (10 hours by car). To make matters worse, Monday I was told they did not have my FBI Report of no report… what are you kidding me? Every time I sent my “agent” an email I received the same form letter. Finally I was able to break that cycle of ‘louder and slower’ & get her to HEAR me. I then used the handy dandy tracking number from DHL and discovered that Sue had signed for it at 1:16 PM back on April 19. So it was matter of finding it in the building. At that point I was ready to drive down and look for it myself!
What does this mean? It means I can start to look for work. I am polishing my CV – completely different format than in the US – so I can start the process. Today, Tuesday, I was fortunate to have an accomplished and amiable principal review it quickly and give me some good advice plus now have a model of a real one (vs. just off the internet).
Principal? Who is that? For those of you loyal fans who have been following my every word you will recall Howard and I met a teacher named Maureen at the Pasifika Festival back in March. She and I struck up an email friendship and she invited me to come to her school in a poor section of Auckland, about a 20 minute drive. Fortunately I gave myself an hour to get there and made it relatively on time! The AM commute traffic into the city is unbearable.
The school serves the lowest decile students in years 7 and 8 (grades 6 and 7). Students are all from Fiji, Cook Islands, Samoa, Maori, Pacific Rim, and one (token?) Caucasian student. Uniforms cost about $100+ and all students wear them. The enrollment is tiny (a bit under 150) while the grounds and building are spacious. Technology looks pretty impressive; I saw 4 interactive boards and lots of computers for students. The building was built in 1953 and just last year a whole wing (Maureen’s area!) was refurbished from top to bottom. She teaches foods, sewing, and graphic design. The rooms are done in gray and Kermit the frog green with white trim, really stunning with huge windows and high ceilings. The electives program is impressive. Every year there is big theatrical show, this year its Puss and Jandals (Boots!). Students have won the greater Auckland Battle of the Bands and are accomplished in sports. I’m eager to go back and learn more about this warmly welcoming, interesting, & lively school.