On Friday I attended a NZQA Principal's Nominee (PN) Seminar that happens every year. Based on past experience I had braced myself for messaging that always felt completely at odds with the messages I had heard from NZQA whilst involved with their Future State Brainstorming Group. In the past I always felt I heard (from the top) a very genuine desire for schools to get on and innovate and really test the capacity for NCEA to be genuinely personalised to meet the needs of students. I would then head along to a PN Seminar and feel like that message had been lost, with PNs being encouraged to maintain relative conservative gatekeeping habits that so often meant schools are no where near as creative and responsive as they might (and should) be. Last Friday was different. For the first time I got the sense that NZQA was challenging PNs to evolve and adapt their practice. Hoorah!
However what did still concern me was the prevailing mindset of the room. When asked to identify barriers fo…
Too often the narrative around why we need a pay rise can become focused on how hard the job is. The act of teaching is hard, however be assured, a career in teaching is a privilege. That said I do believe each and every teacher in this country deserves a generous pay rise, not because it's a tough job, but because it is a bloody important and complex one.
Here are my 13 reasons why...
1) What we do is important! There is no question. Being a teacher is one of the most important roles in our community. We are not only fantastic (low cost) caretakers and babysitters for much of the year, we are also trusted to provide young people with the knowledge and skills they need to survive and thrive, whilst also addressing community concerns and government priorities - we are miracle workers (and hence we deserve the pay to go with it. What we do is seriously important work on many levels. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” - Malala Yousafz…
Well, today marks the day that many of you will have experienced the first high stakes external exam of the 2018 NCEA exam season and whilst I do wish you all the best, I also want you to know that you are bigger than any NCEA exam.
An exam is defined by the Collins Dictionary as a formal test that you take to show your knowledge or ability in a particular subject, or to obtain a qualification.
I would rather focus on what an exam is not:
It is not a measure of if you are bright.
It is not a measure of your potential.
It is not a measure of your worth, either now or in the future.
It is not a measure of your ability to learn, unlearn and relearn.
It is not a measure of your ability to communicate.
It is not a measure of your ability to collaborate.
It is not a measure of your ability to research.
It is not a measure of your creativity.
It is not a measure of your curiosity.
It is not a measure of your willingness to take risks.