After seven years as a high school teacher, head of department and Dean, I decided at the end of 2018 that my time in the education sector was up.
Despite the flames of the teacher shortage circling the high schools of Auckland, this wasn’t a decision based on pay, or even necessarily workload (despite the status of both being woefully inadequate). Instead, I made the decision to leave primarily out of self-preservation.
As someone who lives with disability, I’m beginning to understand the cumulative fatigue of negotiating inaccessible environments every. single. day. It suddenly became glaringly apparent that working in a school meant I was being way harder on my body - and my spirit! - than I should’ve been, and that something eventually had to give.
I like to think I’ve been part of the extended Curative family since its inception, and have always admired the care and craft that goes into every single piece of work that Eddy and her co-conspirators have gifted to the world. I’ve also long harboured an infatuation with their accessible studio space, its modern industrial design making navigating the space in a wheelchair fairly seamless. It’s the type of built environment that, over time, recedes into the background to serve simply as a canvas for good work and great ideas.
In my short time here, I’ve already been involved in the NCEA Review, facilitated a number of different workshops, written proposals and scripts, and generally served as witness to the magic that happens when the Curative Crew set our collective hearts and minds to a task.
I’m continually blown away by the love, curiosity and integrity that underpins every piece of work we do here, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the world of social change.
I’ve learned that moving to Curative allows me to do work that’s meaningful and important, while at the same time, remaining kind to myself. My work here requires deep, critical thinking and a willingness to ‘stay in the grey’, challenging me to be comfortable with uncertainty and not always having the answer.
As a former teacher, that’s certainly been quite an adjustment! But alongside this, I can now go to the bathroom when I want, I’m no longer at the mercy of the bell ringing every hour, and I can manage my time in a way that allows me to be my best self. These are small things, but they've made a significant difference to my overall wellbeing, which in turn has enabled me to give my young family the care and attention they deserve.