Kia ora. My name is Kirk Milligan and I am a Maths teacher at Nelson College. Like many within the community, I am striving for the best future for our tamariki.
I see Mathematics as a context for a way of thinking and seeing the world and I see myself as playing a part in helping people discover how enabling and empowering this understanding can be in their lives. This belief in my purpose as a teacher has guided me throughout my career.
I have been a teacher for 23 years, 14 of those in New Zealand. I have been lucky to have experienced a diverse range of challenges in some quite different cultures and environments – from inner city Glasgow to the Kalahari in Botswana, from Aranui High School to Collingwood Area School and Nelson College.
The one enduring truth that I have noticed in all of my experiences is that everyone, regardless of their socio economic background or culture, loves to learn. There are barriers upon barriers to stop this happening for many of course but when it does happen, the energy and hope it generates is obvious.
As we have all no doubt noticed, there has been a significant change in the wind recently. I have been lucky to have been part of this and have facilitated a major shift in the way some of us regard Maths education. Initially a facilitator for the numeracy project, I took the project’s essence and customised a working model with Number Sense as the core belief. Over the last 10 years I have watched a significant improvement in student achievement following strategic decisions made around Number Sense. More importantly than the data, though, I have seen a change in the students. Many more believe that they can move forward.
I have seen this belief develop in the relationships that my colleagues and I build with our students because I am a teacher.