littlecolourfulteacher

littlecolourfulteacher

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i’m really here, un-smiley and whole

April 9, 2019

I had a colleague walk by today and say, “Smile, Kwokkie! Why so serious? That’s not you!”

And normally I wouldn’t mind, but today it really got under my skin. Probably because there’s a lot buzzing away in the background with overseas tour preparations and I have limited smile-capacity at present. 🤣

And it got me thinking about the cost of not receiving people as they were, especially those who are normally strong, joyful, resilient, positive, and thoughtful, and the expectations we place on ourselves and others to be a certain way.

For me, I was totally fine with whatever resting bitch face I had on; it was honest + authentic. Why so serious? Because at that moment, I WAS + NEEDED to be. Did that comment mean I’m not taken seriously? Because I certainly DO SERIOUS work. I just happen to like doing seriously SERIOUS and EXCELLENT work with JOY + ENTHUSIASM.

It was SUCH a reminder to me to receive my own students, particularly the very exceptional ones who give their very best selves each day, at whatever state they are in without judgement, just care + connection.

I am guilty of giving that very same passing remark when I am not thinking, without any desire to make anyone feel less than.

So that’s why I’ll take my very special, give-it-all-to-the-world super students, at face value. I’ll ask them how they are travelling without asking them why they’re not looking stupendous every moment of they day. That they are allowed to have moments in the day where they can be un-smiley, resting-bitch-and-bastard-faced grumpy sods, and ultimately perfectly normal, healthy, wonderful human beings.

Today I played some old-school party games with my Year 12 Tutor Group kiddies, who have been working hard + a little stressed of late. Along with the old favs like, “I Like People Who…” and “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, I stole a few ideas from this video. Highly recommend! 🙌
We did “Baby Rattle”, which reduced us to all to tears of laughter as my normally mostly very mature Year 12s yelled like crazy people at each other to “JUST SHAKE THE DAMN BOTTLES!” 😂
We’ve got “Magic Carpet Ride”, “Movin’ On Up”, and “Office Tennis” to go. We completely ran out of time!
It was SO HILARIOUS + HEARTWARMING to see my big kiddies being little kiddies with such enthusiasm + gusto, and hear their much-needed laughter. 🥰

because big kiddies need to play sometimes

April 7, 2019

those moments, those reminders

April 6, 2019

Sometimes you wonder if you’re hitting the mark with the students who give nothing away. But you just keep flying the freak flag, doing the crazy spontaneous things, giving the love and support wholeheartedly, laying down the boundaries over and over, and saying the words that you hope will hit the mark, even if they are met with blank faces and all-out resistance.

But time and time again, I get the unexpected reminders that teenagers, particularly Year 12 teenagers, do have highly evolved crap-detectors on their heads and NOTICE.

From one of my Year 12 Tutor Group Sirs, who gives NOTHING away, and suffers my conversations with mono-syllabic responses, via another staff member:

“Yeah, Kwokkie, she’s a total embarrassment, but she’s cool. You know she cares + she works hard for us. I rate her.”

That’s THREE SENTENCES and massive ones, straight to the heart.

the greatest humility and grace

March 31, 2019

One of the greatest moments of humility and grace is realising when you are not the perfect fit for a student.

As I continue grow into myself and my teaching, I see more examples of this within the classes I teach. The students that are angular and pokey around me, that value and respect my teaching, and me as a person, but I will never be their best champion, or their perfect mentor.

The younger version of me would have worked with pig-headed determination to flex and contort myself into the perfect fit. What did I need to be? Harder, warmer, softer? More dictatorial? Colder? I tried to bend in ways that I never should have. And in doing so, was being dishonest to myself and doing my students a disservice.

Now, in simple grace and confidence, I can identify students for whom I’m not a perfect fit, and I can joyfully and wholeheartedly direct them to other staff members and mentors who might inspire them more fully than I am able. I encourage them to listen and look closely around them for kindred spirits, people who are older and wiser than them who have the unique combination of experiences and talents which resonate with them.

I ask them to be open and engaged with me, and that I will always love and teach them with my greatest self, and to the best of my ability. But in my heart of hearts, I say silently to them:

I am not so vain as to think I can be everything to everyone. I am not the perfect fit for you. I will teach you, care for you, encourage you, guide you, and support you, but you need to find that adult or mentor who IS someone you completely aspire to be like, even in part, and connect with them. You need to have a champion, and a North Star, and it’s not me.

So, look hard, and look well. Find someone who resonates with you, who makes your spirit catch alight, and learn. 

This.

This is such a gift of courage, humility, grace, and love.

To know that I have the courage and grace to set certain students free, so that I can love them more.

#choralnerd

March 30, 2019

I held my breath as my Concert Choir sightread an entire piece unaccompanied + in tune this morning. They were so excited they broke into spontaneous applause + cheers at the end, with plenty of ceremonial back-slapping in the tenors + basses.

This is new and magical territory for us. 😊

Oh, I wonder where we’ll be by the end of the year…! 🌟

just a little snippet

March 30, 2019

How cute is this?!

Made me smile!

a lesson in the obvious

March 30, 2019

When subtlety fails:

Sir Year 9: “Thanks so much for playing for me this assembly, Ms Kwok!”

Me: “No problems. I like dark chocolate, by the way.”

Sir Year 9: “Me too! I’ve got a couple of Lindt flavours that…”

Me: “No, let’s try that again. I’m telling you, I-LIKE-DARK-CHOCOLATE-AND-I’M-LEARNING-NEW-MUSIC-VERY-FAST-IN-MY-SPARE-TIME-AND-PLAYING-FOR-YOU-IN-MY-FREES-ON-FRIDAY.”

Sir Year 9: “What, I don’t get…OH.”

Me: “Indeed. Dark chocolate Lindt will be great.”

Sir Year 9: “I’ll stop by Woollies on the way home.”

Good man. That’s what I want to hear. 🙌

boundary setting 101

March 17, 2019

My prefects coaching each other on boundary setting today:
Miss Prefect No. 1: “I NEED my final free today, I’ve lost so many frees this week and I’ve got this meeting that will go on forever…!”
Sir Prefect: “Okay, what you need to is give an absolute time limit, and you can’t go beyond that.”
Miss Prefect No. 1: “How am I supposed to do that?! I need to be all supportive + welcoming, but actually, I’m DYING inside.”
Miss Prefect No. 2: “Okay, here’s what you need to do. You say you’ve got half an hour, that’s a fair amount of time for this, right? After that, you’ve got a music lesson. I know you don’t, but NOW you do. There, DEFINITE END POINT.”
Sir Prefect: “Walk out confident. Straight shoulders. Thank them for their time, firm handshake. Smile. Eyes up, look straight ahead. Be polite, but don’t linger.” (I did crack up at this point. 🤣)
What makes this all the more endearingly hilarious is that these prefects are some of the MOST generous, time-efficient, selfless, well-adjusted, and damn hard-working individuals I’ve ever met, let alone Year 12s.
Them navigating “Boundary Setting 101”, open-coaching style, just warmed my heart + made me feel like a proud Mama Kwokkie. They’re learning. 😁

#wearethem

March 17, 2019

Our hearts are with New Zealand.

#wearethem

because we care

March 17, 2019

Sir Year 7, walking down the stairs from Music + grumpily complaining: “I dunno why she’s picking on me. There’s nothing wrong with my assignment, I did everything she asked for!”
 
Miss Year 11, walking up the stairs to Music, no idea who this kid is: “Guys, if Ms Kwok decides to pick on you and push you to do better, you have no idea how lucky you are!”
 
Me, inside the Music classroom, just out of sight: 😁
 
THE GREATEST. Made my day.