Saturday, December 2, 2017

You know the sun gonna shine in my back door someday (Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee)

It's open letter time again people:
Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Dear Toni

Hey! It's a year on since leaving the familiar and launching myself into the mystery of 'what's next for Wozza?'

How has it gone? Well, last week I ventured up to Paihia for a meeting with other secondary school principals from Northland.

Being amongst tangata whenua protocols again was the first shock. The next was the generally dour atmosphere during the meeting.

Along the way, it was interesting to compare my life as a campus Principal at a private school with the poor saps, sorry, my fellow professionals at state schools.

Seriously, looking around the room, it took me back with a bump to my time ten years ago at Stratford High School when I would meet with fellow Taranaki Principals; the gradual beat down of demands trying to do an impossible job takes its toll.

As my Principal friends compared their heart attack histories I knew I was in trouble.

At that time, I quickly decided life was far too short to be in that situation so I left and went to the Middle East where I met remarkable people, had loads of adventures and learnt a lot about myself.

I learnt that I needed to push myself, to be busy, to be challenged, to try new things, to not settle.

As I pootled home through the beautiful Northland vistas, past some depressed looking towns in Rapid Roy I remembered how lucky I was to be living my life.

A few posts back, I included a quote from Hunter S. Thompson where he celebrates a life lived with the final statement being 'Wow, what a ride!'

When that feeling goes I start getting the 'what's next for Wozza?' vibe.

Do I miss Woodford House? At times, yes, of course I do - I definitely miss the great Woodford people (tip of the titfertat to my buddies), Bay Espresso visits, the time to pause and reflect that is so hard to eek out in the hurdy gurdy days I currently have (I haven't got that figured out yet), the twice weekly chapels (great meditation time) and I miss being in a formal classroom setting teaching English.

But...but, I love the way Westmount School is so keen to experiment with timetables and everything else, the balanced mix of autonomy and collegiality, the full-on environment of self-directed learning, the teacher inquiry process led by Karen Boyes, the challenge and the adventure (every day is a mystery box), the feeling that I am being appreciated and that my skills are being gainfully employed, the return of optimism and positivity (I was getting dangerously close to becoming a grumpy old fart at Woodford) and the Whole Food Cafe in Maungaturoto is a pretty gnarly substitute.

So, all up, going forward, I often think (to myself) that my skin is still in the game.

But enough about me! How was your year?

Love and peace, happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you and the family!


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