Hui 1: Breathe a sigh of relief

I’m a CORE eFellow. Even though I’ve been to my first hui, I still can’t quite believe that once again I’ve blagged my way into something far exceeding my skills and abilities. I look around at the amazing, passionate, innovative educators around the hui table and think, ‘Really? They picked me?’ But they did, and I’m grateful.

I’m also grateful for the overwhelming sense of relief that I experienced sitting in Auckland airport on my way home. Exhausted yes, exhilarated yes, buzzing with ideas yes, but mostly relief. I had expected to feel scarily confronted with educational ideas that I didn’t know how to wrestle with. And while there were certainly interesting philosophical discussions, there wasn’t anything so new or so ‘out there’ that I didn’t know where to begin to engage. Whew.

The dedicated list-maker in me (yes, I outed myself as being ‘Monica’ from the American sitcom Friends – I can have fun, I just need it to be tightly controlled. And tidy.) also feels much more comfortable with understanding the overall shape and expectation for the eFellow year of awesome learning. I’m seeing this experience as kind of like a ‘mini-Masters’. Employing educational research methodologies to investigate an area that for me has a clear sense of moral purpose, to keep my project small and simple in order to present at ULearn15 and deliver an EdTalk for CORE Education.

In a way I’m also feeling embraced (yes, physically hugged) but more importantly, a sense of connection. The first activity Louise had us do was to talk about the three (three, people!) artefacts which we had brought along to represent ourselves. Here are mine:

IMG_0023 Very briefly, I brought along a Dominion Post two-speed crossword (because I love the power and slipperiness of words), Baking Powder (because I’m a bit clueless at the moment about my new job that I haven’t started yet, but I’ve taken it because I want to be an agent of change), and post-it notes (because I love design thinking and the way it is creative and yet structured).

Exploring these, and later on in the second day, exploring more in-depth as to what we each believe the purpose of education to be, truly reveals so much about a person. It was amazing that without sitting around and hearing one another’s life stories, we quickly got an insight into each other.

And this is something I want to take into my research. Once this is a little more concrete, I’ll blog about that, but suffice to say that something I learned from Louise and John is the power of stories, but, more importantly, the power of having your story heard. And I want to hear the stories of teachers. I want to be a respectful listener, not a preachy mouth. If people feel heard, and therefore respected, appreciated and safe, perhaps they’ll feel confident to embrace something new. And my first eFellow hui certainly made me feel this.

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