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May 27- On the Bus

I just got on the bus and we are talking about what we are going to do for the weekend. Tonight after school and a meeting, we are meeting Nyved (the librarian from Pt. England) for some kind of Asian food experience and possibly trivia night at a “pub” place. Hopefully there won’t be too many crazy people there, at least Dr. Cunningham will be around! Yesterday we got to meet with Delwyn, one of the assistant principals of the school and she talked a lot about the surrounding communities, where children are coming from, what the home life consists of, and how the ministry worked to make up the curriculum. It was about a 2 hour long meeting until tea and I learned some very interesting things. Most of the children that go to Pt. England are immigrants to New Zealand, their entire family or part of it (sister or mother) came to find work and send money back to the rest of their families on the islands. Children are a large part of the culture of a family, the more children you have, the richer you are, so it’s a big status thing for this community. Most families have at least 5 children for the average, some have up to 12 brothers and sisters. Pt. England covers grades 1 (Kindergarten) to 8 and after they leave primary school, they go to “college” or high school. The drop out rate isn’t very high, they all know that they have to go to school to get a job and help their families. After college, they have the option of going to university, which is actual college. Students from Pt. England get financial aid to continue to university and some go on sports scholarship if they are good enough to play for the university team. The way that the community housing is set up is very different from the United States. The government provides housing for those that need it and this is based off their yearly income. Houses have two to three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a living/kitchen area. There are generally four houses to an 1/8 of an acre and more than one family will live in the house. Delwyn said that most of the Pt. England children live with about 16-20 other people in their house. There are a lot of skin problems and lung problems because people are so crowded in the house. Problems like these will affect students’ performance and behavior in school and some students will stop coming to school for weeks because they or someone in their family is sick. Teachers are responsible to conduct house check-ups on their students, even when they are doing well in class. This helps with the home/school connection which Pt. England really values. The ministry (which is similar to their government) is responsible for making the curriculum for grades 1 through 12. These people are not teachers and don’t know about the needs of children in these lower income schools. Regardless, they publish a very very general curriculum for the schools in the district to follow. Some of the objectives that are listed are like: “Appreciate that scientists ask questions about our world that lead to investigations and that open mindedness is important because there may be more than one experience.” Teachers are supposed to take this and mold their lessons to cover this goal. I know that from writing all the lesson plans this past semester, the United States takes a very different approach in providing very detailed descriptions of what students should be learning.

Anyway! That was the extent of the meeting in the morning, it was tea time by the time it was over. After tea, I went to my new classroom (Room 15) with Ms. Squires and the 5 graders. They were so interesting!! This term, they are focusing on integrating and learning all about technology that is offered and most of them have cool blogs and animated videos that they created. I was able to help with a reading lesson, working with a boy who had just transfered to Pt. England. He could read the words, but he didn’t comprehend what they meant so I had to help him make the connections by looking at the pictures and saying different words that he might know. After that, it was lunch time, so I went into the staff room to eat my PB bagel, a banana, and some jaffe (or orange) cookies with chocolate on the bottom. I got to skype some which was wonderful seeing home and the people I love. My class got to go to the library and I read them a book called “The Crazy Hair Day.” Some of the girls asked if they could take pictures with my camera and I let them. They loved it! And this class loves my hair too! One girl asked if I could leave my hair down today so that she could “plait” it or braid it. So I did, maybe I’ll get some pictures of what she does. It’s about time for assembly so I’m going to go to class! I’ll post more about today later. Bye everyone!


May 26, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun!!! Catching up on your blog tonight!!! It’s 12:22AM on Friday May 27 and it’s 4:22PM May 27 for you!!! Weird!!!

    Comment by Gary Collins | May 27, 2011 | Reply

  2. hey Laura,, wish you were here tonight to celebrate Luke’s Graduation meal… you always brighten up any room!! We’re going to Beef O Brady’s. 🙂 talk with you later,, love, possum

    Comment by Possum Thomas | May 27, 2011 | Reply

    • I know!! I hate I’m missing it! I know it’s going to be a wonderful night though! Love you

      Comment by lmmayerchak | May 27, 2011 | Reply

      • Hey Laura Loo, Mama and Becca got a lot of great photos,, you’ll see them soon! We missed you,, all of you cousins are so smart and fun to be around,, such happy young people with a fantastic future ahead! Having fun watching the saga!! love you, possum

        Comment by Possum Thomas | May 28, 2011

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