Living my Dream through Internship - By Olivia Jeffery

Living my Dream through Internship - By Olivia Jeffery
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Hi, I’m Olivia also known as Via.

As kids, we always dreamed of what we would become as adults, an Artist, a doctor, or in my case a veterinarian. Of course, I lost interest in that dream very quickly and didn’t think much of my future as a kid.
But now that I’m an adult for a while I had no clue as to what I wanted to be or who I wanted to be known as, A little background into my story, I’m a twin, my twin brother was born blind, he has autism, and cerebral palsy he is a big part of my life and always will be. Sometimes I would go into my brother’s classroom most of the time to drop something in or watch my brother do something amazing/ special,

One day I went into his classroom to watch my brother perform something and one of his classmates came up to me and started trying to talk to me, and he also grabbed my hand and lead me to where he was playing ( He was playing with some cars on a little mat with roads on it) at the moment I guessed he wanted me to play with him so I sat down and started talking with him and playing with the cars.
One of my brother’s teachers saw me do this and after I was finished playing with this boy the teacher came up to me and said “ You would make a great teacher one day”
That sparked an idea in my mind “ I want to be a Teacher”  and it wasn’t till a few years later that I would get this amazing opportunity I’m doing now.

When I joined Te Kura I had no idea what all the opportunities I would be able to do or accomplish. I knew where I wanted to go but didn’t know of all the rough paths I would have to walk down, it was a constant battle in my mind, full of doubts, worries and a ton of anxiety. I spent my first year of Te Kura learning all about myself and what I could accomplish by the end of my first year I got the best idea in my mind, “What if I volunteered at my brother’s school Tauranga Special School for a whole year?”

So after a lot of thinking, I decided to get into contact with Tauranga Special School to see if I could volunteer for a whole year to get as much experience I could  (This was at the end of 2020)

After a few months of waiting, I heard back from Tauranga Special School and as you can probably guess they said yes and that I can start next year and each term try out a different classroom for the term but before I could start next year they wanted to see me for a trial run for a day.

The day I went in for my trial run I was so nervous I almost backed out of it, I had every what ifs going on in my mind, “what if I've made the wrong decision, What if this doesn't turn out how I expected, What if something bad happens to a kid and I don't know what to do?!”
But it was too late to back out now, so I powered through all the doubts and walked in for my trial run.

I can't give you all the details that went on during that day because I have to respect the privacy of the staff and all of the children. But the day was amazing. I learned so much that day and I learned that I can power through those ‘what ifs’.

I went away from that day feeling so happy, I felt that I was on the right track. Later on that week I heard back from Tauranga Special School to say that I did amazing and they would love to have me back for next year (2021)

Fast forward to the start of this year (term 1) it was going to be my first day in my first classroom. Room 3 all together in that classroom was six kids and four staff members and then me. My first full day went really well and I connected with all of the kids the very first day, we went on a van trip that day and I got to know the kids learning styles and how they communicate but must importantly I learnt more about myself and what I could do and what I couldn't, that day was the most exhausting day that I remember but its a day that I will never forget.
That first term was the slowest but the most informational term out of the 4 terms.

The funniest memory from the first term was we were on a van trip to a park to have a look to see if it was safe to let the kids run around for a bit, but since it wasn't fenced in we had to head back to the classroom, as we were driving away the driver got a bit distracted because some of the kids weren't happy that we didn't stop to go to the park and decided that they were going to unclip themselves from their carseat and try and open the van door, the driver ended up scraping the side of the van on a post.

Moving on to term 2 it was time for my next classroom, Room 2. Room 2 had five children and three staff members. Now room 2 was smaller but man that was one of my favourites, the child I was paired with was the most challenging person I was paired with, but he was one of the cutest. With me that term he decided that he didn't like Assembly anymore and he didn't like Kapa Haka so every Friday he made such a fuss because he wanted to go into the quiet room instead of where he should have been.
Because he was attached to me I had to spend most of that term with him and I didn't really get to know any of the other kids in that classroom.

One of my favorite memories from that classroom is, Every Friday some of the kids go horse riding and one day we had to wait in the classroom because it was raining and we were too early to leave the school yet. The young boy that I worked with was not talking much. This young boy came right up to me and said while signing “More Horsey” very clearly. I was and still am very proud of this boy and will never forget that day.

Moving on to term 3 and my final classroom that I'll be in for this year. Term 3 was very different from the last terms it was time for me to head out of base school and move to a satellite classroom in Welcome Bay Primary School. For all those who don't know what a satellite classroom is, it's a classroom that is from another school but is in a different school altogether. It's mainly for schools with kids with disabilities but other schools have them as far as I know.

This classroom had ten students when I first started but during term 3, two more students joined that group, and there were four staff members and now there are six. Term 3 I also moved from 1 day a week to 2 days a week so that was challenging for the first couple of weeks until my body got used to it.

My first day was so busy running after one student that was very attached to me right when we first met. He loves trucks and anything with wheels. I have now got to know other kids and got to observe how they learn, what they are learning, how they see the world.

Most of the kids in the classroom can communicate very well and others are still learning.

What I have learnt the most in that classroom is a lot more NZSL (New Zealand Sign Language) and that imagination is the most important thing anyone can learn from.

I'm still in the classroom and will be until the end of the year, and I'm hoping that next year I can get either part time teacher aiding, or full time but only time will tell.

I think the biggest thing I can take away from this year is, You can push through all those ‘what ifs’ and maybe accomplish your dream and turn it into something big. I mean, all you can do it give something a go and if that thing doesn't work out try it again or try something else amazing.

You never know when you're going to find your dream.