Teaching was his ‘best decision’
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.’’
MALE MENTORS: Matamata Intermediate School has had a boost in male teachers including, from left, Dan Fraser, Oliver Barratt and new principal Daryl Gibbs.