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Be the light in the dark

by Rebecca Thomas

'I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people'

-Maya Angelou

Whanaungatanga, Term 2, week 3, Staff Meeting 3

Clutching a strip of five superheroes:

- atawhai (kindness)

- koa (joy)

- toa (courage)

- manawaroa (resilience)

- whakaute (respect)

we were invited to give one card to ourselves and wrote our name on it.

What an interesting provocation.

Which card would you have given yourself?

After deliberating this, the challenge progressed.

We were then invited to assign a new card to someone else in the room.

On gifting the second superhero card, we were also instructed to follow it up with a kōrero about why we had seen that colleague as a hero to us, and why we had given them that particular super power.

Teachers being encouraged to look at their colleagues for inspiration; teachers being each other's role models - the excitement was palpable.

Between the whispers, awkward smiles, giggles and joy, tears began welling in my eyes as I captured the voices around me. The voices were sincere, the messages concrete. Some became role models; others became sweet talkers. Emotions choked me, as I discreetly dried my eyes and swallowed down the lump in my throat.

Moving on, the rest of the staff meeting contained messages of collective efficacy and hope.

On reflection, it made me realise how important it is to affirm each other. It made me realise the power of our words in lifting people up. It made me realise in the challenges that have passed, just maybe we have forgotten the joy we can bring to each other by celebrating each other's strengths.

We have been so busy being role models for our students - wishing to motivate them, keeping them safe, and imparting our knowledge - we haven’t had time to think about the personal qualities of the very people around us whom we can relate to. The very people who have shared these tough experiences with us, the very people who have similar stories.

I wanted to share this moment with you.

I want you to take turns to be someone else’s light.

I want you to pause and celebrate each other's strengths.

- time to create our own stories full of optimism and warmth.

(The tool we used in the staff meeting was called Heroes of Our Own Story and can be purchased for $3.00 here)

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Tracey Lawson
Tracey Lawson
May 18, 2022

Having been present in the room for this session, it was nothing short of inspirational.

You could see colleagues being genuinely appreciative of one another and "filling cups" all over the room. What an absolute banger of a way to start any hui. It is tricky as educators that we get stuck in a loop of just giving and giving and giving. This activity is a great reminder that it is not just our learners that we support; we support each other through our words, deeds and actions. The more positivity that we can sprinkle into staffrooms to remind ourselves that we're together in this, the better off we will all be! 😍

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