My first day of teaching in an Auckland school came as a result of a God-orchestrated encounter at a primary school near where we are living. After introducing myself and leaving my CV, I was on my way out when the principal randomly asked if I taught dance. I enthusiastically replied yes, and she proceeded to explain that they were in need of someone to choreograph some dance pieces for their students. I couldn’t think of a project I’d be more well suited to, and excitedly accepted their invitation to return to the school for a few days the following week to teach dance. Both parties were thrilled with the outcome of my impromptu visit that day, and felt that it was a definitely an answer to prayer on both ends.
The project I took on involved choreographing dances to 13 songs, which the children would perform while singing, when a professional camera crew comes in a few weeks to create a “music video” of each class. The hours of prep were many, but it was definitely rewarding to see the dances come together, and a good challenge for me to choreograph to new genres of music.
I was pleasantly surprised by the attentive and well-mannered nature of the children. Teachers seemed to have fairly high expectations for classroom behavior, which made my job rather easy and pleasant. Students responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to learn some new dance moves, and both the kids and myself had a great time bustin out to tunes like S Club 7’s “Don’t Stop Movin’”, Bryan Adam’s “Summer of ’69,” and “Uptown Girl.” Oh yes, and “Yellow Submarine.”
The school had a caring and peaceful atmosphere, and though the campus was on the older side, there are many brightly colored murals that brightened things up. In pretty much all of the schools here in Auckland, children wear uniforms, some more strict and formal than others. The uniforms at the school I taught at were on the casual side and included a teal colored polo shirt, your choice of navy bottoms and shoes, along with a hat. Interestingly, this school also has a school cat that wanders in and out of classrooms and takes naps on chairs in the teachers’ lounge. I tried to find out the cat’s name, but was unsuccessful.
The principal requested that I come back three more days next week to continue working with the students on their routines, an offer I was happy to oblige. I am SO thankful to have this job teaching dance right now. It’s amazing to be given this opportunity to get my foot in the door of a terrific Auckland school, when I am still relatively fresh off the boat. A lot of the agencies that employ relief teachers want you to have a certain amount of teaching days in Auckland schools before they will hire you, so this will definitely help me with that process. I am trusting that more doors will continue to open at the right times.
I am also curious to learn more about the Auckland school system, and am interested to see how it compares to the way this are in Canada. I feel like I probably don’t even know what I don’t know yet, but I’m sure I will be enlightened along the way, and as I get into more schools.