This week it was my pleasure to be involved in the Stanley and Winter Olympics. As a new teacher at this school I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but sometimes the best way to learn about something is to just do it. As you probably know, this term we are focusing on the manaakitanga (team player) value. Students had chosen their own teams and had the opportunity to show what they could do when working together. I took the street art and drama classes, both of which the students appeared highly engaged in. There was some excellent art produced and some hilarious skits and raps. It was really interesting to see teamwork improve throughout the week, as to do well students had to learn to communicate their ideas and collaborate effectively.
As a one day visitor at Winter Olympics I got to see all kinds of interesting games – giant foosball, intense pétanque matches, riveting “wall ball” games. Stanley Ave students did themselves proud by reaching a seven semi-finals, three finals and winning the boys’ hockey final, which was thrilling to watch. When they didn’t win high stakes games they showed respectful and sportsman like behaviour toward the other teams, and this was impressive to see. Probably the highlight for me was the Cheer event, which had somehow morphed over the last few days into an incredibly tight and original piece. The powerful haka at the end capped it off and, to my mind, if the team wasn’t first (Te Kowhai were also awesome) they were definitely second. I’m sure next year they will have the momentum from this performance to win the event.
Finally, on the Friday I got to do all kind of fun activities with the Ruru syndicate – a scavenger hunt around Te Aroha, kayaking, abseiling and mountain biking. As a teacher this was a great way to get to know the kids outside of the classroom environment – high speed races on downhill muddy bike trails is a great way to bond! The students appeared to work better together as the day went on, emphasising how effective these activities can be for developing teams. The weather was sunny all day and we made it back just seconds before a heavy thunderstorm. What a great week! Ka pai to all those students who gave it their best and a big shout out to all the teachers, staff and parents who were so committed to making these events as fun as possible.