Typewriters are fun apparently

See at WEGC retro workshop. I got the typewriter from the “treasures” shop at the WCC rubbish tip.

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Schools need strategic HR management function

With teacher shortages, staff retention issues, increasing stress levels etc it may be time for schools to embrace the role of strategic Human Resources (HR). If they do not have the skills or cannot afford it, this may be an ideal role to distribute over a number of non-competing schools. (Yes, schools are in competition.)

Ultimately teachers are the key to success for schools. I would be looking at recruitment and retention policies. ie what skill shortages are we anticipating? What teachers do we wish to prioritise for retaining ie are scarce to find and good at their job. Given that salaries are poor for teaching and fixed we need other strategies for retaining and attracting staff. For example:

  • management units as a retention tool
  • no duty ie standing at the gate on border control
  • quid pro quo for extra curriculum activities
  • no relief
  • working from home – if not teaching you do not need to be at school
  • active workload review and balancing
  • profession development as a reward/incentive

Of course, this may mean that some teachers get preferential working conditions as part of an overall retention and recruitment strategy, but this may be necessary when schools start aggressively recruiting teachers in high demand ie Maths, Physics, Te Reo, Hard Materials etc…

Equally, this may not fit comfortably with the view that all teachers should be treated the same…

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Trust – Hard to gain, easy to lose.

 

Source Stuff

Sadly this type of bullying occurs in schools. The thoughtlessness of a few impacts the victim and reflects (unfairly) on the entire school. Thankfully this callous act was brought to the attention of the right people.

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“Stationary Lists” – can they include apps?

I have been reviewing the stationery list for Digital Technologies classes. I can see the possibility that using the Adobe suite may not be affordable by the school in the future which leaves several options…

  1. Use Open Source – GIMP (free)
  2. Use Pixlr.com free, cloud-based and comes as a Chrome extension
  3. In conjunction with the above allow students to choose to use Photoshop, but they have to pay a fee to cover the school licensing costs.

If I do place any apps on the “stationary list”, can I recommend the “pay for” version and any other options such as access to image libraries? Of course, those that get the commercial versions will likely be at an advantage. Is this equitable? No doubt plenty of issues to think about. Similar issues relate no doubt to the choice of desktop applications ie Open Office, Google suite or Microsoft Office. I believe this one of the reasons why Microsoft provides software to students and teachers for  “free”. (A great initiative by the way.)

Footnote: Notebooks ie requires a pen, are now back on the stationary list! Ironic perhaps but necessary if I want students to think laterally and connect ideas sometimes diagrammatically. And to help them remember…

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Vulnerable Children’s Act – Pointy Questions

I have recently been involved interviewing applicants for a role at Wellington East Girls College. For the first time, I have encountered the implications of the Vulnerable Children’s Act when recruiting staff. These including some reasonably direct questions regarding the applicant’s prior involvement with children and teasing out their attitudes about what constitutes professional practice around children. A range of “pointy” questions are also directed at referees when/if contacted. Guidance is given regarding questions on the Ministry website. All good, schools need to be safe and trusted environments for young people.

I see it can take 4 weeks or so to gain a Police clearance; this seems a little long…

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Stressed out students?

There seems to have been quite a lot of media attention on stress levels of secondary students lately. It is not unusual for 10% of a college roll to be seeing councillors. Of course on a spectrum, there will be relatively fewer that are at the serious end of risk ie self-harm, anorexia and even suicidal thoughts. To keep it this way stress levels must be managed, part of that is openly encouraging (where and when appropriate) discussion on stress. I did a quick survey of a handful of senior students about their stress levels, nothing too serious evident. One young lady was indeed stressed about her portfolio – it was due the next day. Our course has fewer credits compared to two years ago and this may be helping… Where appropriate we can also be flexible regarding assessment completion dates, especially where a student can demonstrate they are planning to hand in the assessment at a certain date.

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Pay rates low and volunteer work expected?

Recently read … (full article here)

“Heads must stop expecting young, enthusiastic teachers to volunteer for extra, unpaid work.

It is commonplace (in teaching) to expect things to be done for free that in the commercial world everyone would expect to be paid for. 

Looking forward to seeing how the PPTA claim progresses under a Labour-led Government.

 

 

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