Teach­ing was his ‘best de­ci­sion’

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By TERESA HAT­TAN

Daryl Gibbs likens the feel­ing of ap­pre­hen­sion as­so­ci­ated with his first days at the helm of Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate as be­ing sim­i­lar to a big game.

‘‘ You know you’re ready but you’re not sure what’s go­ing to come at you,’’ he says.

As a joiner by trade, Gibbs grew up in Whakatane be­fore mov­ing to Hamil­ton to play na­tional league foot­ball.

Af­ter a year of play­ing, part of the agree­ment with the foot­ball club was coach­ing Hamil­ton Boys High foot­ball teams.

‘‘I re­ally en­joyed work­ing with the kids and see­ing them learn.’’

At the end of that year Gibbs de­cided to go back to uni­ver­sity to study teach­ing. It was the best de­ci­sion he ever made, he be­lieves.

Gibbs has worked at just one other school through­out his teach­ing ca­reer, at Hamil­ton’s Berkley Nor­mal Mid­dle School. Gibbs kept be­ing given op­por­tu­ni­ties so he stayed at the school, first be­ing pro­moted to a se­nior teach­ing po­si­tion, as­so­ciate prin­ci­pal and then deputy prin­ci­pal. He was at the school for a to­tal of 12 years be­fore mak­ing the move to Mata­mata.

While work­ing, Gibbs went back to study and com­pleted a post-grad in ed­u­ca­tional lead­er­ship. He has two pa­pers to com­plete to gain his masters de­gree. Gibbs says it was a chal­lenge to teach and un­der­take fur­ther study at the same time. ‘‘It was hard work be­cause I had a young fam­ily. I just had to pri­ori­tise. Play­ing lots of sport and play­ing to a rea­son­able level, that went out the win­dow.’’

But knew his study was im­por­tant so he was will­ing to make the sac­ri­fice.

‘‘ Do­ing that ex­tra study has given me the abil­ity to ap­ply for po­si­tions like this.’’

Gibbs says he is ex­cited about be­ing in Mata­mata. He, his wife Rikki-Lee and their three chil­dren have been in town for six weeks. ‘‘Ev­ery­one has been awe­some, the com­mu­nity’s been great.’’

Be­ing his first job as prin­ci­pal, Gibbs says he is ex­cited and a lit­tle ner­vous. ‘‘It’s a lit­tle bit like be­fore a big game and you know you’re ready but you’re not sure what’s go­ing to come at you.’’

How­ever, the school has been very suc­cess­ful and is in a re­ally good po­si­tion, he says.

‘‘To be able to come in on the back of such good pre­vi­ous man­age­ment is fan­tas­tic,’’ Gibbs says of for­mer prin­ci­pal Mar­ion Hen­rik­sen.

He says his first job will be to meet the peo­ple, spend time with staff, see how things run cur­rently and then start to plan ahead. He is most ex­cited to meet stu­dents this week. ‘‘ Def­i­nitely. That’s what we’re here for.’’

A goal for the year is to con­tinue to make links with the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially strength­en­ing links with the Maori com­mu­nity and Maori fam­i­lies within the school, Gibbs says.

He also hopes to make sure the stu­dents are be­ing seen pos­i­tively in the com­mu­nity. ‘‘Our big goal for the year is fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing the whole child. There’s al­ways so much fo­cus on lift­ing their read­ing, writ­ing and maths but at in­ter­me­di­ate age they’re start­ing to have their own iden­tity and per­son­al­ity and where do they fit in the world, so when they’re set­ting goals its not just in learn­ing but in all as­pects of life.’’

He be­lieves it’s im­por­tant for stu­dents to learn to be per­sis­tent. ‘‘If you’re learn­ing it should be hard work. If its not hard work you’re prob­a­bly not learn­ing or not im­prov­ing. We need to keep teach­ing them to work hard and have a bit of re­silience when things don’t al­ways go right.’’

Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

MALE MEN­TORS: Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate School has had a boost in male teach­ers in­clud­ing, from left, Dan Fraser, Oliver Bar­ratt and new prin­ci­pal Daryl Gibbs.

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