Te Manaaki i te Kaiako - Supporting Teachers
While most of the literature and discussion of teaching and learning in the Māori tertiary sector revolves around support for Māori learners and improved outcomes, my humble opinion is that there is also a need to provide support to Māori teachers.
While most Māori teachers are loathe to complain, I know from the meetings I have had with many of you around the country, that Māori tertiary teachers bear not only a heavy workload but are also expected to carry out a host of cultural functions that are not a part of your position descriptions. And those duties add up: noho marae, wānanga, pōhiri, whaikōrero, karanga, mihi whakatau.
Then there is the advocacy role that some of you find yourselves thrust into, often on your own as the sole Māori member of staff. This can entail advocating for support for kaupapa Māori in a mainstream institution, or being called on as “the Māori representative” on staff to provide a solution/service within current resources.
Some Māori teachers take on a social worker role that involves counselling, supporting and mentoring the at-risk youth through the first 18 months of their study – and that’s just to get them ready to learn. Many of you experience frustration that is amplified by the fact that often these valuable tasks are not recognised by the funding regime.
Wherever you teach in the sector, there is a need to manage and look after yourself. Equally, there is also an institutional responsibility to recognise the extra load Māori teachers shoulder, and provide the appropriate support to ensure you do not crash and burn.
I hope this particular issue gets wide discussion at Tuia Te Ako 2012 because Māori learners need Māori teachers to be at their best and Māori need our learners to be successful.
What do you think? Does the kōrero above resonate with you? Should Mãori teachers receive more support and what would that look like?