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Hema's Story

Worimi, mālō e lelei.

My name is Hema. I am a mature-aged PST from the Kingdom Island of Tonga. I am a proud mother living and learning on Gadigal ngura in Sydney. What bores me is not being seen. My question for educators is Do you really know your student? (AITSL) the challenges, strengths, and potential of your students and their community.

I am a community languages teacher, an SLSO in Mt Druitt and completing my Master of Teaching (Primary) with Swinburne University. But my main job believe it or not is raising my 6 tjitji little ones to be strong in culture. Since the Dreamtime, this land has and continues to be a land of diverse cultures and dialects. Language is the carrier of culture, and language and stories matter. I am passionate about community languages education. We cannot talk about 21st century problems without empowering our community languages to be where students are in the digital space. My role is to bridge the language and digital gap, to empower all students First Nation, migrants, refugees to be strong in culture, in their identity so that they can walk confidently in the third space, as a proud Australian.

What is to fear? I stand on the shoulders of strong women and ancestors who conquered the vast Moana. They traversed the superhighway of connected islands working together to survive. #TheNewBrew has given me a platform to learn on country, a place to be heard, belong, and connect over the information highway. I feel the mana and excited to empower my own learning circles.