Rewi, our guest blogger, read an open letter to Parliament by Hamish, and was inspired to write an open letter of his own, describing some of his difficulties in a previous school. He addresses his letter to two of the Members of Parliament representing the region served by the One Day School he attended, Nanaia Mahuta and Lindsay Tisch.
Tēnā Kōrua Ms Mahuta rāua ko Mr Tisch,
I have written this open letter as a past student of One Day School, I would like to give you an understanding of its importance to someone like me.
At my (old) everyday kura no one got me, I felt like an outsider. Everyone else seemed happy but I was bored. Teachers didn’t understand why I was bored and asked lots of questions (which annoyed them) and just thought I was difficult. Teachers and students thought I was weird as I liked maths and reading. I hated school so much so I often thought it would be easier to be dead. I resisted getting ready for school every day and did quite a few unacceptable things as I felt school was a waste of time and there was no hope (but that didn’t make me feel good either). I was able to deal with feeling so sad about school though as I knew I was loved at home. My mum and dad did an awful lot to support me through this time.
Mum and Dad arranged for me to be academically tested and my result secured my One Day School (O.D.S) place. Although finding out my score did allow me to understand lots of things about why I felt different at school I didn’t know at that stage why they were sending me to O.D.S as I couldn’t believe any school would be different – but it was such a relief:
The days were interesting because of the subjects and the depth we looked at them in and I didn’t always have to stop when the bell went. The teacher understood me and saw me just the same as the others. We were encouraged to be questioning. At O.D.S I didn’t feel like an outsider in a school environment for the first time ever. I found belief in myself that I was normal because the other children there were just the same, for the first time I was able to connect with someone and call him and some others a friend. (It was also good for mum and dad to see there were other kids like me out there too!!)
I was still frustrated at my everyday kura but I understood why and knew there was hope. If it wasn’t for O.D.S I probably would have been excluded from my then everyday kura and been written off, just because they didn’t understand me, my traits and my needs. Because of my time at O.D.S I had the confidence to interview and test for a new school and I now have focus.
These and many more reasons is why not only O.D.S Hamilton but all the others should be kept going. They are a lifeline to kids like me.
Rewi (age 10)
I salute Rewi’s courage in making his difficulties in school public in this way, in order to help bring about positive change. This is true advocacy.
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Image credit: Outsider image (with fiddleheads/pitau) CC-BY Mary St George.