This month’s Harcourts Good Sort will be a familiar face to many of Taupō’s children and young people.
That’s because Jo Dundas has juggled a decade-long teaching career here, with being a mum of three and grandmother of four.
The Taupō Primary School teacher was nominated by fellow teacher Kasey Izett for her selfless attitude and dedication to her role.
Dundas was Izett’s associate teacher on her very first teaching placement four years ago and continues to support her on her teaching journey.
Izett said she understood the importance of having a strong support network when embarking on a new career, and Dundas was one of the people she had in her corner.
“Jo is one of those people who goes out of her way to help others.
“From the tamariki she teaches in various ways, in her classroom, her kapa haka, and those on the sports field, but it also extends to her colleagues, friends and family.
“I just wanted to acknowledge her for this, even though she would never expect a thanks.”
Dundas also knows the importance of having a good network of support.
Her whanau (family) and close friends supported her on the same journey 13 years ago.
Dundas began her studies by distance through Canterbury University when her children were in ECE and primary school, so juggling motherhood, fulltime study and work was her life for three years.
Dundas attributes her work ethic and positive attitude to her mother, Rewa Dundas, who had always been the rock of their whanau.
Part of her pesent role involves working as an Across School Leader in the Taupō Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning).
This role was a great way to work alongside and learn from talented and passionate kaiako (teachers), Dundas said.
Izett said her special memories of Dundas often revolved around her passion for te reo Māori, and included her “casually mentioning” that she had spent a weekend making and adding macrons to the signs around the school.
From this, during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori last year, her class wrote to the Taupō District Council asking why there was no macron on the #LOVETAUPŌ sign.
While Dundas said she acknowledged she had a long way to go on her te reo Māori journey, she was growing herself in other areas of te ao Māori and leadership
This included working with the Huia Kaimanawa kaupapa (project) through Te Akatea (New Zealand Māori Principals Association) that involves centring iwi and hapu visions for success in leadership.
She also works with Poutama Pounamu, a University of Waikato project whose motto is “Equity, excellence and belonging, building strong foundations for the future”.
All of these initiatives were part of an important bigger picture, she said.
“Living here in this place and space, of Taupō, it is important in our profession, that we are supporting Tūwharetoa learners’ success in two worlds.”
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