Bachelor of Education, Manukau campus

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Death by hallway

I find my way to the room where the seminar about Pasifika students in higher education is to take place I walk in and BOOM! All white people I scan the room to see any brown faces….zero…I look for any white faces I may know….zero I quickly retreat and close the door and find the seat outside the room and sheepishly sit down, unsure if I should stay or go home. I decide to wait, breathe and pray. I then pull my phone out and text this caption below to my Son. ‘OMG im early n they al wite ppl I am d minority I felt so uncomfortable I retreat to the seat outsd sux no1hea the same color as me wite pple walkn past dr blah blah name oh hs door he goes past me 3 times witout a bat of an eyelid im awestruk of d isolation I feel so alone n ds corridor of academia snobbery y me bahahaha ptl my worth is founded n my God dr blah blah passes 1 last time caln owt 2 hs colleague down d hallway im cumn 2 get real coffee I sit n hum 2 myself wile ur at it get a real personality

Seeking for connections

Finally after what felt like an eternity which in reality was just 5 minutes, a fellow brown woman walked into the room. There were no chairs left but I motioned to her to get her chair from the back she did and placed it beside me. I had never met this woman before but we instantly connected. She whispers to me ‘hi’ I whisper back ‘hi’ we both giggle. I introduce myself to her and she introduces herself to me. I ask her what she studying; she said she’s a psychology Masters student. She asked me what I was studying I said I was education masters student we both giggled. The researchers consist of a lecturer and the others are either, Masters Students and the other woman was their education person. The Samoan researcher girl has the surname of an affluent family in Samoa and I’m sitting there thinking.. hmmm.. How can I relate to her?….We are both Samoan but I could not understand her world of elitism and I doubt that neither could she understand my world of ghettoism.

The uneasy voice

After the Politics lecturer spoke, the Indian/Pacific woman spoke I found her to be quite self-seeking and I did not feel what she had to say added any value to the discussion. At this point I am feeling quite nervous and uneasy about speaking but I knew that I had to share what was on my heart. So, up goes my prayers coupled with my hand to notion the speaker that I had something to say. I go to speak and I’m shaking.. I’m shaking because I was about to let my guard down and be vulnerable to room full of white academics with a sprinkle of brown faces. I speak and say ‘I have two things to say firstly to the assumptions that all teachers have good teaching practice is exactly that an assumption, if that were true, we wouldn’t need this research. The thing about assuming, is that is makes an ass out of you and me, secondly I want to thank you for this research it’s awesome to hear the voices of the Pasifika and Maori students coming through it gives me hope for my son’s generation. After I spoke, I was trying to stop my body from shaking. I swear people could feel the vibration of my heart through the room. In my mind even the hallway was vibrating to the beat of my heart.

Invisible student hierarchy

Following the keynote speaker we had a group discussion. On our table there were two facilitators so my ex-lecturer went to facilitate another table. There were two parts, the first was for us to share our name and research and the second was to share what we found difficult and how did we overcome it. It was quite fascinating after everyone had answered the first question, which we did by going clockwise from the facilitator. By the time the second part began it was as though an invisible sifting process had happened. All those that identified as PhD students answered the second question it was no longer an orderly clockwise fashion it changed to a hierarchical of educational status. The three that weren’t PhD students just sat and listened whilst the PhD students went back and forth with their difficulties and how they overcame them.

Hallway passes and the big elephant in the room

I find myself sitting in the hallway thinking how in this hallway I’m not as isolated as the hallway in city campus. I take some time out then walk into the session on bullying it has already begun so I sneak in and grab the nearest seat by the door, although I’d like to think I was quiet unfortunately moving my large body into a room is like moving a bear from its’ beehive not a quiet experience. The presenter shares of his experience of how he had a phone call at 11pm at night about his 16 year old son being in hospital as a result of bullying, everyone gasps. I sit there as the minority my mind wonders with shame hoping and praying it wasn’t a Pasifika person that hurt his son. We all know that Pasifika and Maori children are renowned for bullying. I drift into third space –thinking processing assimilating information. I think it was awesome that he had personalised his researched but had a few concerns about it.

Table of contents :

  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of contents
  • Glossary
  • CHAPTER ONE: Introduction
    • Pasifika girl in the mirror: Part One:
    • The dissertation
    • Pasifika girl in the mirror moonwalking?
    • Research question:
    • Literature review:
    • Why Pasifika?
    • Foundation of Pasifika identity within education
    • Physical ’space’
    • Third space and Va’
    • Methodology:
    • Why autoethnography?
    • Autoethnography a qualitative research
    • Pitfalls and Challenges
    • Personal challenges
    • Data collection
    • Overview
  • CHAPTER TWO: Bachelor of Education, Manukau campus
    • Title: In the hood
    • Introduction:
    • Marae encounter
    • Encounter with a name
    • Encounter with curriculum
    • Life and Heart encounter
    • Racist encounter
  • CHAPTER THREE: Post Graduate Study Space: Epsom
    • Title: Space invader
    • Introduction:
    • Old planet yucky memories
    • New planet new aliens
    • New planet new insights
    • Matters of the heart
  • CHAPTER FOUR-A: Masters of Profession Studies in Education:
    • First post-graduate paper offered at Manukau campus:
    • Title: I am home
    • Introduction:
    • My space
    • K/new whanau
    • Where everybody knows your name
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Dissertation City campus experience

MOON WALKING WITH THE PASIFIKA GIRL IN THE MIRROR An autoethnography on the spaces of higher education

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