As we have returned to Term 2, I have been reflecting on what I did in the recent school holidays. As a teacher I look forward to school holidays for three reasons: one, it is a time to slow down and forget about the rigidity of timetables and bells and a time to rest and relax with family and friends; two, it is a time to explore in New Zealand and sometimes overseas – although not this year; and three, it is a time to think and learn – sometimes this is around community issues I may be involved with, or by attending education conferences and sometimes it is just catching up on my reading.
I did manage to encompass all three objectives during the April school break. I was able to go to the gym and for a walk much earlier in the day than I can during the Term time. That has an added advantage of seeing different things, and meeting and interacting with a completely different group of people.
I also visited Wellington with my husband for the first time in over 18 months. As well as meeting up with family we also did some exploring by visiting places that we had not been to for quite a while. To help us in our explorations we used a book called – Worth a Detour North Island – Hidden Places and Unusual Destinations Off the Beaten Track by Peter Janssen (there is a South Island edition as well).
The books share quirky experiences, fascinating landscapes and another side of NZ history that is known to locals but most often bypassed by visitors. An example was the amazing clock in the old BNZ building in central Wellington. We have visited Wellington frequently and have eaten in the old BNZ Building on numerous occasions but I have never looked up and seen the clock. It is well worth a visit to see the “petals opening” the bells chiming and the central mechanism rotating through a variety of scenes.
The holidays also gave me some space to read – to read for relaxation and to read more thought-provoking books/articles related to education. Some of the more interesting articles were centred on the way in which the USA has dealt with school closures due to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter campaign, and some of the learning that has resulted could be applicable here in New Zealand.
I am sure each and every one of us did something different with these last two weeks. But, regardless of what we did during the holidays, the important thing is that we had a break from our daily routines, an opportunity to stop, to clear our minds, to create space, to pray, to be thankful and to enjoy the life we live in New Zealand.