Jonah Takalua is Real!


‘What’s the name of the book we’ve been reading all term, Jonah?’
Empty stare.
‘How about I give you a clue? It starts with the letter “T”.’
‘How about you just give me any word that starts with the letter “T”? Can you do that, Jonah?’
‘Do you even know what the letter “T” looks like?’
‘Don’t mess with me Miss, you’ll regret it.’
‘Oh regret it, will I! Get out of my class, Jonah, I don’t want to see you in here. Get out, now!’ 
from TV series, Summer Heights High

I enjoy working  with Polynesian young people. But I also have a lot of teacher friends, in NZ and in Australia, who find working with some Polynesian young people to be a real challenge. Jonah Takalua to them is not a fictional creation – he’s a real kid in the back row!

One of the biggest challenges is finding ways to connect learning in class with these young people’s lives. As a teacher of literature, that includes finding stunning reading material.

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