A Fijian teacher in Niue

Written By : TAVENISA DIRI . – I came to Niue in September with a lingering question on my mind. “Why do teenagers remain at Niue High School when they
31 Dec 2009 12:00

image Written By : TAVENISA DIRI . – I came to Niue in September with a lingering question on my mind.
“Why do teenagers remain at Niue High School when they can enjoy education in developed neighbouring countries?
A month later, the answer emerged.
I began to study the minds of young Niueans at my high school, Niue High.
I found some problems and I also saw a lot of strengths that outweigh the problems.
I saw that despite their relatively small (and I mean small) island, with a population of less than 1300, the Rock of Polynesia allowed Niueans’ inner beauty to bloom and offer some sense of security.
I found that special attribute from the heart which makes Niue High School superior in quality.
To me, the school provides the ideal social, economic, cultural, spiritual context in which students receive training to ‘grow, develop and appear in the utmost beauty.’
The institution helps students to anchor themselves firmly.
I asked students to remember the October tsunami warnings and a committed national response plan as an essay writing topic.
The children offered spontaneous gifts in cash and kind.
Their oral and written expressions of the entire experience allowed for a clearer glimpse into the minds of young Niueans.
Their messages of condolences and essays on neighbouring Samoa and Tonga’s tsunami tragedies were highlighted.
They heightened my awareness of how their easy access to their first and second languages had given them several outlooks.
The heart of Niue High School’s educational curriculum is love, respect, humility, inner strength, quiet confidence, self assurance, security, contentment, gratitude, understanding, acceptance and affirmation of the self as an individual Niuean.
A hidden aspect of the school curriculum is respect for others and for one’s siblings, parents, grandparents and extended families. A lot of students testify that Niue High School, “allows you to become who you really are.”
Niue High School enables them to believe in themselves, identify and develop their talents and use them to make meaningful contributions to society.
In spite of some of its shortcomings, Niue High School provides them with space and the time that allows them to be all they could be.
During parents’ interview; parents living overseas tell their Niue High School children that they are helping the school, “to give yourself back to you.”
It is to make them ready to live in a world where heritage, language, culture, identity or self respect exists.
Niue High School affirms and nurtures Niueans and ensures their cultural survival in a fast-paced world.
Niue High School is indeed a place for young Niueans to grow, develop and appear in the utmost beauty.
Tavenisa Diri is an English language teacher at Niue High School and a freelance writer. She may be contacted at tavenisa@gmail.com

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