It has been back to school this week for Kia Aroha College staff. We met on Tuesday – not to start our planning for the year – but to share the planning teacher teams had already done in meetings during their holiday break. Over these last few days teams have discussed and refined their planning, down to the finest detail, to make sure our students get the very best learning possible. The amount of work that goes into preparation for the start of the year, and throughout the year as well, is incredible and I am impressed, every time I sit listening in these sessions, with the commitment of our staff.
Yesterday I returned from Waitangi, where 250 principals and teachers from Tai Tokerau spent two days in a conference discussing engaging Māori learners. The weather outside was stunning, the Waitangi setting was beautiful and historic, yet we were all inside talking about children and learning. I was privileged to be able to contribute. Congratulations to the Aka Tokerau Māori Principals’ Association for a wonderful event and for enabling your teachers to participate in such great professsional learning.
It’s this type of hard work and dedication that those hell bent on “teacher-bashing” and denigrating the work we are doing in our schools don’t understand. The only sour note in the Tai Tokerau conference was a Ministry speaker losing her cool when faced with legitimate questions about policy. Her reaction treated us all, education professionals, as naughty children. The very tense relationship that has developed between principals and the Ministry could possibly be improved if the Ministry was prepared to visit the chalk-face and sit in on the wonderful work our teachers do and, God forbid, listen occasionally! Being righteous, does not make you right!