The whole day was valuable for me - I was able to network with other Rainbow network people as well as others interested in the whole inclusiveness issue. I also saw IHC in a new light - I guess I’m guilty of seeing only their public face not the advocacy one that is almost more important than the public one. It was also good to be provoked regarding Human Rights issues - it is a right that all children receive a quality education - what implications does that then have for me in my classroom?

Another thing that my sector group (Rainbow) raised was the whole diversity issue - we talk about our classrooms containing a diverse range of children from many different nationalities and cultures but look at the majority of our teachers - mainly white, middle class women!!

  • We discussed how it is easier to be a woman and ‘out’ than it is to be a man and ‘out’;
  • We discussed how hard it is for a man to be involved in Early Childhood Education because of the implications that they are there for ulterior motives;
  • We also discussed how hard it is for some GLBT teachers to attend national/regional meetings if they are during the school week because their circumstances preclude them being out in their workplace
  • Even though there is all the advocacy for GLBT teachers, the fact remains that many schools are conservative and that makes it difficult for those teachers to be out
  • And we discussed the need to network with other GLBT teachers - both in our own regions and nationally

I hope this will be a start of a group of us networking - the Rainbow people and those teachers interesting in nutting out how exactly we work for full inclusive education in NZ.