I have spent the last 18 months working on school projects across the city.
And I have learnt more than I could've dreamed. Who knew that primary and secondary schools would still prove to be so educational and inspirational more than 10 years on from my own time as a student at Massey High!
Through all of the discussions that I have had with teachers, with principals, Board of Trustee members and (most importantly) front office staff, I am completely floored by the power of new perspectives.
As silly as their questions may have seemed to them at the time, the more I reflect the more I come to realise how brilliant they were. Simply put, there is nothing silly about speaking up and wanting to expand your knowledge. We may think our questions are ridiculous, but we all have knowledge to share, regardless of background.
It reminds me of one of the first times I was left alone to watch over construction on site. My colleague had left the country for a few weeks, leaving me to take care of an interior refurbishment we had been working on. At the time, I was so green, so new, so fresh.
The Project Manager on that job was a solid man. He had at least 25 years more building experience than I had and knew how to max out the volume dial. Fair to say, my first few forays on to site were some of the most terrifying experiences I have ever encountered.
In my mind, I kept saying to myself, "I look after the architecture, he looks after the construction." But within days that construct was completely smashed to pieces. He had quite the eye for design and was keen to see something amazing; he’d ask me all kinds of questions around design philosophy that at times left me completely dumbfounded! Meanwhile it turns out some of my more beautifully naive questions about the construction were actually quite pertinent - I was actually contributing to the process!
I learnt more from him during three weeks on site than I could have learned in a year at my desk. Simple as that. I put it down to not being afraid to ask the silly questions.
I have had some wonderful teachers in my life, but that man, well, he was one of the finest.