Thursday, 5 February 2015

HPSS part 2: Hub time

Wow, what a day. Had a lovely time during our Waitangi Whanau day, celebrating Waitangi and how cool it is to be a New Zealander. Whilst many childlings were unimpressed at the significance, I think many were very engaged by the day. I'm exhausted, but I have told myself that my reward for this post tonight is gin and a watching of Emperor's New Groove. Although I would live to write more about it now, I said I would write about my experiences with my hub, and that is what I shall do.

Though I had been briefed during the induction on what I would be doing with my hub as a learning coach, to be honest I was more focussed on what I would be doing during the small learning modules and SPIN classes. I'm glad that I have these two weeks of intensive hub-focussed time to get to know the students in my hub, because they feel like the most important kids. They feel like my favourites, and I think that's the way it's meant to be. That's not to say that they have no issues - I suspect already that I will be keeping a close eye on some, waiting for something to go wrong, whilst for others I will be constantly pushing, just gently, reminding them of what they need to be doing. I am going to make sure these kids do their best, dammit, and get the most out of school life. It feels quite cool to be this fired up.

So: specifics. The first day with our hubs we were assigned a challenge: to shoot and edit a film about one of our Hobsonville Habits. We were out at the playground (and what a neat playground it is, too - fits nicely with the imaginative architecture around the area) and things were going to pot. I felt my inadequacies keenly. Here I was, finally responsible on my own for a bunch of kids, and I wasn't pulling them together, enthusing them in the activity, getting any good work out of them. I tried my best, I think, loathe to suggest ideas but quick to suggest ways to get ideas, loathe to take the lead (trying to prod one of the year 10's to step up - eventually a year 9 did!) but not willing to let them do nothing. After trying to prod some action out of them, I think I did the right thing and took a back seat, letting them figure their own ideas out, and shoot their own video.

It made for some terrible footage, but that's not the point.

Later, once we got back to the school, they really started to pull together. Kids who had stayed quiet seat earlier were coming up with ideas and putting them into action. Kids who had mucked around were keen to try things to add to the video. We had music, we had footage, and we did what we can.

My biggest regret is that I took the movie home to finish off, to edit and polish. I had fun doing it, and I learned a lot about iMovie and what makes some truly terrible footage (maybe I am my father's son after all). My regret is that one of the kids didn't have that experience that I had. No one in the hub was proficient with editing software, you see. I wasn't either, but I could figure it out. I'm still not sure what I would do if I hadn't taken the film to finish off, though. Only one person could edit, since splicing together clips from several different people into a coherent whole is difficult enough. It still doesn't seem fair to ask that one of them figure it out and finish of the film in one evening. Maybe if I had a week.

So the film ended up being more my vision than theirs, and that's not something I am proud of starting out at this school. It's certainly something worth reflecting on - I need to make sure that I have student voice in the vision and drive of my classes, otherwise it ends up being more about me than about them. I'm pretty sure that my ideas for the upcoming modules and SPIN classes will provide that choice and flexibility, but I need to make sure that I ask for advice and help when I am unsure.

After the film festival yesterday, I got my hub to do a short reflection on the film. I asked them the share with me what they were most proud of and what they would do differently next time. Their responses were great, albeit brief. I was most proud of the way that my hub kids became more confident through the day to suggest and test their ideas. Next time, I would get the kids to lead the activity, assigning roles to the quiet ones if need be, so that everyone has a focus and they are in control. I hope I can always find a way to do that.

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