WELTA Update (Waikato)
What a way to end 2020 for our WELTA Teachers.
Two old heads got together about August last year and decided we needed to spend some of our WELTA funds. From this the idea of a Big Day Out grew. So with the help of a small committee and some generous offers from our colleagues to run workshops we secured a venue and date. Approximately 60 teachers from the Waikato gathered at St Peter’s School, Cambridge on Saturday 14th November to meet and catch up with our fellow English teachers. The day was entertaining and inspiring.
Our three guest speakers were brilliant : Lorena Strothers , (HOD Fraser High School) presented information about the new Achievement Standards. Max John’s entertaining address, ‘Just another Bloody English Degree, ‘ looked at a few of the many possibilities open to students who wish to study English at Uni. The work opportunities are varied and often don’t even have titles.
Finally we were privileged to have Behrouz Boochani, journalist and author of the award winning memoir ‘No Friend but the Mountain, speak to us about his time imprisoned on Manus Island . The audience was both humbled and inspired by his words. He challenged us to think about the importance of language and culture. Behrouz was blown away by Cambridge and offered to return anytime to run writing workshops. He has recently become a writer- in- residence at Canterbury University and will work on a collection of Kurdish short stories which will be translated into English.
The day finished with people asking for another BDO in 2021. It was an uplifting way to spend a Saturday after a tumultuous year. We even had raffles and give aways from several generous publishers so everyone left with full hands and I think a full heart. WELTA has been in abeyance for several years but we are trying to reinvigorate it for the new teachers joining the profession. Although I am now retired I will work with Margaret Black (HOD Melville ) to pass on the task of rebuilding our branch. When the committee volunteers have the opportunity to meet Waikato schools will be notified. We have so many talented teachers with ideas to share with their colleagues. Thank you to the fabulous workshop presenters especially the St Peter’s team and HGHS who gave full support to the idea from the beginning.
Julie Scott (Acting WELTA president and now retired from St Peter’s School.)