Amesbury School

Endings: This week was significant for John and I. We went to Auckland to attend our final (eighth) child’s graduation from university. Serena, our baby, who came with us to Wellington as a 12 year old, graduated on Tuesday as a fully-fledged podiatrist and won the Academic Award for 2019 for her cohort. She has already started work in a clinic in Hamilton where she will particularly focus on sports injuries and will also develop her interest in working with diabetes and other medical conditions. This graduation marks the end of an era for John and I - all children educated, employed and financially independent. Hurrah! (as Urs would say). Quite a significant ending for us because it has been a long road, beginning with the birth of Demelza in 1984 – 35 years!

This is a good opportunity to reflect on 35 years of motherhood. I think the thing that stands out for me is that in a world in which perfection is often considered the standard to attain, I have come to realize that being “good enough” as a mother is good enough. It’s certainly not that I am not conscientious about being a mother – I view it as the most important role in my life - it is just that no matter how hard I have tried, perfection, or even anything close to it, has always eluded me. I am pretty certain that perfection is not even possible in such a complex role. I suspect we just have to get enough of parenthood right and our children will grow up to be well rounded, capable young people. I want to encourage you to give up the elusive search for perfection and aim for 'good enough'. It relieves the guilt and anxiety we feel when we fail; and, anyway, our children need “human” parents and I think that both success and failure are central aspects of what it means to be human – both are a necessary part of the human condition. In fact, failure more than success gives us opportunities to model for our children how to persevere, be humble, resilient and most importantly, how to be learners – learning from our mistakes and failures and developing wisdom as a result. Anyway, enough pontificating….

Another ending: This week of end of year celebrations and farewells has driven home to me that after eight years and 3 terms as principal of Amesbury School (three terms with no students), next year I will not be the principal – but a writer, researcher and thinker! I am incredibly grateful that we have a Board of Trustees who is committed to the wellbeing and career pathways of staff and who encourage staff to follow their passions and interests even though, in the end, it might mean that the school loses them. I love the fact that the Board has shown itself willing to actively support staff members to follow their dreams. I suspect that the generosity of spirit that our Board shows is not usual, but I have no doubt that over time the school will reap the benefits of that generosity. I am also very grateful to be leaving the school in such capable hands while I am off on refreshment leave. I have absolutely no doubt that Urs, Lisa and Demelza will serve you and your children superbly. One thing I know for certain is just how much they care for your children and how committed they are to providing the best learning opportunities for them. I wish them all the very best.

Thank you: A huge thank you to our families for your generosity to staff over the last few days. We are overwhelmed by the Prezi Cards and for the many gifts we received. You are an incredibly generous community and we feel hugely appreciated by you. Thank you.

Teacher only days: You may be aware that as part of the settlement of the Primary Teachers Collective Agreement, the Minister said that schools could take 8 teacher only days over the period of the agreement without extending the length of the school year. We have decided to take 3 of these days in 2020. These dates have been chosen to fit in with the professional learning that teachers will be engaged in next year. The dates are as follows:

  • 9 April 2020 – this is the Thursday prior to Good Friday and is the last day of the first term. We have a company coming in to take teachers through a Te Tiriti o Waitangi workshop.
  • 15 May 2020 – this is a Friday and will be a Mathematics Workshop in which we begin a major review of how we teach Mathematics at Amesbury School.
  • 29 May 2020 – this is the Friday prior to Queen’s Birthday weekend – so you will all be able to take a four day weekend.

Please put these dates in your calendars and plan around them. I am sure Kelly Club will consider whether to offer programmes on those days.

Congratulations, Hazel!: A couple of weeks ago, Hazel gave birth to a beautiful girl named Abigail Rose Astley – a perfect name for a gorgeous little girl. Here is a link to a photo of Abigail Rose Astley. We are thrilled for Hazel and Jason.

Happy holidays: Wishing everyone happy holidays, a merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Use plenty of sunscreen and travel safe! See you back safe and sound next year.

Arohanui ki a koutou


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