Setting relief for the taechers strike.

I plan to set student relief via Google Classroom for the day of the strike. I will then need to check the work has been done and possibly mark it. So I wll lose a days pay but still do the work… albeit on a different day. In some cases, lunchtime tutorials may be required to catch up missed work…

  1. Is this reasonable?
  2. Can I expect students to do the work?
  3. Has the Union got a stance on this tactic? (not so far)
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Adventures with Dog registration at WCC

As per above… If you want to use Kiwi bank to pay the dog rego – too bad. And cheques are no longer a thing. And no there is no code… and nothing I make up works


To pay by credit card you have to manually enter a Web Ref. This is case sensitive and must be 100% accurate. It is 17 characters long for f#$ks sake. On what planet is that reasonable. Too bad for the poor of sight and infirm… once cheques go the problems will begin.

Bottom Line

When cheques go banks and businesses will have to do a lot better. I predict the error rate and rate of fraud will go up…

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Working from home – students

We (Wellington East Girls College) are currently moving into our new block, this has necessitated having most students working from home over two days. With current technology, teachers can set and monitor work via Google Classroom, in effect we are asking students to work from home, a common enough practice in many workplaces. I have advised students that I will be marking them absent if the work set is not completed within the required timeframe. The results of this exercise will be interesting insofar as

  • will teachers set work?
  • will the students do the work set?
  • can all student access the Internet to access the work required?
  • what can be done if specialized software is required?

I have told my Digital Technology students that they can come to school and access the facilities if they want to/need to. And WEGC staff have arranged a number of tutorials, some mandatory.

Will working from home be effective? is this something we can routinely do if the school grounds are unexpectedly closed or in a pandemic/measle scenario? What about when teachers are on strike? (more on this later)

I guess we are about to find out some of the answers to these questions.

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How to reduce teacher workload…

I have some ideas about how to reduce teacher workload.

  1. Don’t charge a fee to students to sit NCEA. That way Ako teachers (Form Teachers) and others do not have to follow up students and parents for the money. Arguably nothing to do with teaching! YAY DONE
  2. Reduce the workload associated with credit farming and resubs. Students have to accept failure in an assessment. (Am I allowed to use the F word!) YAY DONE
  3. Have full-time Truancy officers in school who deal with attendance. Phone calls home, chasing notes, restorative justice… Is this a teaching role? YET TO HAPPEN
  4. Have full-time student behaviour, well being and crisis management people to deal with all the nonteaching related issues associated with students. This consumes a vast amount of energy as teachers become proxy parents. YET TO HAPPEN
  5. Automate as many administrative and school processes as possible parent approvals, reporting, etc… HAPPENING DEPENDING ON CAPABILITY

More to come…

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Anyone interested in a Gateway student interested in programming, design and web development?

Wellington East Girls College has a Year 13 Digital technologies student – very bright and capable that wants to do the “Gateway” program.

“Gateway provides an option for schools to broaden educational options for students and strengthen pathways to employment, vocational training and further education…”

She has done Python, MySQL, HTML/CSS, Photoshop and web design.

If interested, message me…

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I am happy to go on strike…

I am not in teaching for the money.

As a career change, I am in it for students, community, fun, challenge and making a difference. But  I have to say that teaching hours, demands on time, wellbeing and energy, pastoral care, admin bs, and absolutely crap working conditions are totally unacceptable.

Before you think “What about the holidays?”.. YEAH RIGHT, that’s for marking, planning, PD etc…

So, yes, I support the teachers strike and if it means going on strike, well, so be it…

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Capability gaps are huge… what to do?

Teachers are dealing with classes of 25-30 students where the capability gap between the least and most capable students is huge. What this potentially translates into is the least capable students get most of the teachers time while the more capable students have to more or less teach themselves. There is a range of differentiated learning strategies that can be brought to bear but this does not change the likelihood that lower capability students will get the bulk of teacher time and energy. Current thinking is that this is fair and equitable ie that teachers apply effort where it is needed the most. I am not convinced either way, and find myself with some questions:

  1. Is it fair and equitable for a small set of students to monopolize the teachers time?
  2. Is it cost effective to raise the capability of at-risk students by focusing teachers time on them in a mixed ability classroom, or would it be better to place them in a classroom with specialized teachers and significantly lower teacher/student ratios (and therefore at a much higher cost)
  3. Can we implement reading and maths recovery programs widely throughout secondary schools? Has a cost benefit analysis been done on this?
  4. Can the use of technology help or hinder this challenge?
  5. Is there a natural rate of failure (just like the natural rate of unemployment)? And the best strategy is to develop more courses around life skills rather than academic success?
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