All it takes is one good idea – in this case a question from another teacher about a possible textile tie-in with his ANZAC unit – and my year is back on track.
We’re making satchels out of incredibly sturdy canvas and then lining and embellishing them with things that might remind a soldier of home – scraps of familiar fabric (mine is an old tablecloth), photographs of loved ones, letters and postcards from home, taonga like a small kete or pounamu, symbols of faith, small books of poetry, tokens of love.
It’s turned into an intensely personal experience for everyone involved as students ask questions about the soldiers in their own families and sift through their treasures to discover what is truly important to each of them. What began as plain canvas bags are turning into precious works of art infused with love and history. It’s what inspires me.