Saturday, 19 September 2015

Reaching the End of my Second Teaching Placement - A Poem of Gratitude

This week is going to be a tough week.  It's the last week of my second placement in school and marks another major step towards the dream of becoming a school teacher.  The time has passed by so very quickly.  In fact, this whole year is flying past.  It seems only like yesterday that I was stepping off the plane in New Zealand, having flown from the UK.  Only now, has a year passed since I first submitted my application for university in Wellington, at Victoria University.  One year ago, it was nothing but an uncertain dream.  Now, it is a dream that is approaching reality.

I have enjoyed immensely my time on this second placement.  The class I've been with have been amazing.  It has been a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience.  At the beginning of this placement, I felt daunted, overawed, and overwhelmed by what lay ahead.  I questioned whether teaching was truly for me.  It would have been so easy to walk away, to follow the urge that told me to do so.  But I did not.  I stood firm and resolute and I told myself that I had to at least see this placement through to the end, and only then would I be in a position to know truly.  It is at times like these when I remember a passage in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that describes how we are tested as we approach the realisation of our dreams.  The universe tests us to see whether we are worthy, whether we have learned all that we needed to learn and discover, whether we are certain that this is our dream, and whether we believe in our path.

I am not there yet.  I still have courses to complete at university but one thing is now more certain in me than ever.  I was always going to be a teacher.  I have felt it for most of my life, hearing the call from afar, waiting until the moment when I knew I could deny myself the inevitable no longer.  I do not teach because I can, I teach because it is me, it is my life, and it is my dream. 

Here then, is the poem I wrote to the class as a memento of my stay with them.  I have purposely removed a few verses to protect anonymity of the children.  

A Poem for Room 12

Room 12 has been a truly incredible place to be
It’s full of learning, friendship, and true camaraderie
I’ve had such fun with you all I never would have guessed
I hope you don’t remember me as a terrible, awful, nasty pest.

Remember at the beginning and we made a juggling ball?
I think we had a lot of fun; at least that’s what I recall
Balloons, rice and a little bag, colours and designs were made
Together we ventured out with them and in the playground we played.

We read a book by Roald Dahl called the BFG
About dreams and giants and girl whose name was Sophie
We thought about the dreams we have and whether they could come true
In our books, we wrote them down and shared our point of view.

What imaginations you really have to see such wondrous things
Fluffy unicorns, vampire bats, and a golden boot that sings?
Some were likely, some were certain and some that just could not be,
I thought all were amazing and brilliant, and explored some probability.

When you see yourself in the mirror, there’s a reflection looking back at you
And down the centre, right in between, there’s a line that divides the two
We used contrasting colours and paper folded in two or four
To show our lines of symmetry so they showed up even more.

Cut out a circle of paper and then you fold it one, two three
Take a piece of pizza pie and trace your design so you see
Rotate around, rotate around, rotate around that’s the key
If you fit in more times than one, you've got rotational symmetry.

Now, how to find your way around I wonder if you know?
East, south, west, north, please tell me it’s not so.
The compass needle always points to the north and after that it’s east
Never Eat Soggy Weetbix always remember that at least!

What shapes we found and placed them together with no gaps in between
To make some wonderful patterns, the best that I’d ever seen
Now what do we call it?  What name could it be?
Why it was tessellation of course! Oh silly, silly me.

How do you write instructions, please tell me what you need
Begin with a title that says it all and sows a little seed
Next you add a description and maybe a picture or two
Follow the steps you find below and you’ll know just what to do.  

In the mornings after a little maths we took ourselves under the sea
With a special room 12 brain break created just for you, by me
We looked around, we saw such fish, and wonders of the deep
And after we had finished, there was not a sign of sleep!

We learned about cause and effect on the oceans you recall?
How pollution, over fishing, and climate change are problems for us all
We need to act, we need to think about what it is we do
So in the future this planet of ours we still have seas of blue.

And in those seas the fish will swim and the whales will blow and dive
All of the life below the surface will multiply and thrive
We need the krill, we need the sharks, we need the tuna and wahoo
Because without those last fishy types, what’s the cookie cutter shark to do?

Now here we are, it’s come at last, the end of my short stay
Room 12 you’re the most wonderful people, and I know you’ll always be that way
And even though I’ll be gone, the memories, well they can never fade
Because you created for me, the best most brilliant dream that was ever made.

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