New teacher at home in Toko­roa

South Waikato News - - Conversations - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

The chance to teach in Toko­roa was an op­por­tu­nity Re­nee Hutchin­son wasn’t go­ing to let pass her by.

For­est View High School’slat­est ad­di­tion has been over­whelmed by the warm re­cep­tion and she’s only been there two months.

Hutchin­son came from Aquinas Col­lege, a decile 9 Catholic School in Tau­ranga, and said the tran­si­tion has been a ‘‘fan­tas­tic move’’.

‘‘I love it. The great­est thing to me is the qual­ity of the young peo­ple at this school.

‘‘I have never worked in such an in­clu­sive and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment.’’

The new Head of English takes over the reigns from Chris Rice who re­tired af­ter 33-years.

Hutchin­son has wasted no time in set­ting sev­eral goals in her new role.

One in­cludes work­ing to­wards be­com­ing a prin­ci­pal.

Other goals in­clude work­ing with mem­bers of her de­part­ment to change the con­ver­sa­tion around ‘‘just achiev­ing’’.

‘‘It’s around mak­ing English some­thing that’s ex­cit­ing, some­thing that’s rel­e­vant, some­thing that has a pur­pose wider than the books of your class­room.’’

She said stu­dents have a di­verse range of abil­i­ties so her team will be look­ing at strate­gies to help stu­dents raise their grades.

‘‘When you start to be­come in­ter­ested in the world you’re liv­ing in, you can make those con­nec­tions with the text and that’s when you find that rel­e­vance.

‘‘To el­e­vate them out of the weeds of what’s the point and there’s no job in this.

‘‘This is about our think­ing; this is about our con­nec­tion with the world that we live in.’’

She said a push to get more stu­dents to en­ter na­tional com­pe­ti­tions in short film, speech and writ­ing was also on the agenda.

‘‘This year is about that ob­ser­va­tion of how does that pro­gramme work and then re­de­vel­op­ing that to start next year.

‘‘That’s go­ing to open up schol­ar­ships for a whole group of stu­dents.

‘‘With th­ese stu­dents we have the raw ma­te­ri­als and with our teach­ing staff we have got the raw ma­te­ri­als we need to shake it up and put it al­to­gether.’’

Head of English Re­nee Hutchin­son.

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