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March 7, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Ngai Tauira – A Rant From A Former Maori Teacher Trainee

So you want to be a teacher? Well, that is a beautiful ambition, but do you have what it takes to be an educator of the next generation? In particular, do you have what it takes to be a Maori teacher working within the framework of Government Policy?

As we are all aware, Maori teachers are still few and far between. Although they are on the increase, we are still a long way behind the eight ball. So what are the important aspects of being a Maori teacher in today’s society?

Teacher training is an exhaustive, long and very involved process. From learning intra- and inter-personal skills to allow you to understand yourself, through to learning and understanding the cognitive, natural and nurtured development of children. Theoretically, teacher trainees are given the tools necessary to ensure they are successful when dealing with children in a classroom. They are taught how to plan ahead and always have their lessons well-planned and be able to change those plans if something unexpected pops up. They are taught behavioural management techniques so they can cope with those students less likely to behave. Teacher trainees are a select group of people who are dedicating themselves to ensuring the youth of today succeed in education.

Statistics show that Maori in secondary school often do not succeed as well as others. Many reasons have been given for this failure: lack of intelligence; poor, drug-addicted parents; alcoholism and many other social disorders. My opinion is that is more a lack of cultural understanding and teachers not being aware of the different barriers to learning that many students have. Here is where the modern, up-to-date teacher trainee comes into the mix. With new cultural competencies being incorporated into the teacher training, many of the alienating, deficit teaching practices will be a thing of the past. Maori students can look forward to a better, improved, modern, culturally-sensitive teacher.

There are a number of challenges for Maori teachers in today’s society. As a former teacher trainee I quickly discovered that what I learned at College was very useful for a starter. However there are other tricks to the trade that can only be learned by practical experience. Maori teacher trainees are entering into a new era of understanding that was lacking when I went through the College of Education. We were taught that all children learn the same no matter what ethnicity or ability. Thank goodness this attitude has changed in modern teacher training. Maori teacher trainees need to learn what they can from their training to help our young children pass through compulsory schooling and into tertiary education.

Te Whanau o Ako Pai
Ko Wharangi te maunga
Ko Waipahihi te awa
Ko Karorirori te marae
Ko Tane-nui-a-rangi te tupuna
Ko Akopai te whare

Here are a couple of handy
contacts to have if you’re
studying at Karori Campus:
Pine Southon
School Administration Manager
Phone: (04) 463 5633
Peihana Ruhe
Marae Taurima, Te Kura Māori
Phone: (04) 463 9553
28A Campbell Street,
Karori Campus

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Comments (2)

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  1. Hmmm... says:

    Being Maori, as I am also, you need to be aware of a few VERY important things about the education system. One of the main reasons why there are so many problems with Maori at school lies in not what values teachers hold, whether they be Maori or Pakeha, but who the system is designed to serve: Pakeha, NOT Maori. And because of this, Maori will never, and can never fit into it. In fact, as soon as any Maori child walks through those school gates, he is expected to fail, just like he is expected to have gang related connections, to smoke weed, drink, fight, end up in jail. Being a ‘Maori teacher’ in a ‘Pakeha’ designed education system immediately contradicts what we need for our people. What is it you want for YOUR people? is it to achieve higher results? to ‘fit in’ with the Pakeha’s system? Maori teachers NEED to take themselves OUT of the Pakeha education system, spend all the money they have, gather as much support as they can, dedicate their ENTIRE live’s to doing something OUTSIDE the MAN’S design. With no fear of ‘what if i do not succeed”. Reforming the system to suit us will only further fuck with our children and their values, as it so evidently has done. Reform leads to further reform. We need to do something entirely different, yet at the same time NOT EXCLUDE PAKEHA, like marae’s in schools give the impression.”Lack of cultural understanding”??, the more we try to incorporate ‘our’ things into the existing system of education,what ever they may be, the more confused we will be in why Maori still struggle. EVERYTHING is wrong with the education system, Maori need to be aware of this, it does NOT suit us, take every child out! home school him, if we can’t, or don’t have time, we must make time, go on the benifit if necessary, send him to the marae, anything but school.

  2. Gina says:

    Yeah, that’s the ticekt, sir or ma’am

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