Reflecting on the last year, and using the deBono technique of Good Bad Interesting, I have come up with the following (limited to 17 in total and not in any order of priority):
- Coaching the senior second soccer team – it was fun, the girls came to practice and by consensus everyone got equal time on the field
- Year 9 Ako (Form) class – The perfect students ie Self motivated, supportive of each other and organised. They won the Year 9 cup following success at Camp (another highlight), pantomime and other activities.
- Having a sequence of classes equivalent to a straight flush in Poker… All Year levels, nice young people – low to no behaviour management overhead.
- Hobsonville Point Secondary School visit and tour by Principal, as part of Professional Development. Great to mix with like minds in a Modern Learning environment… and taking a ferry across Auckland Harbour to classes.
- Great industry support from IT businesses such as Catalyst, Datacom and Xero. They came to talk to our computer club (Gigbytes) and provided tours of their facilities.
- Special Needs Unit (SNU) students participation in my Year 9 Ako class and subsequent SNU end of year prize giving… authentic, heart warming and with full student participation.
- Report evenings. I must be one of few teachers that enjoy these. An opportunity for students to talk parents through their work and for me to meet the caregivers that trust me to educate their child.
- The school production of Les Misérables. It was so good I went to see it twice on successive nights
- N4L. It is a step backwards for WEGC ie slower, more filtering etc… albeit it is free and to be fair, for many schools N4L offers a fantastic service upgrade.
- Administrative overhead… still there and still too high in my view. I see the Education system as a low trust model hence the admin overhead is not going away anytime soon.
- Massive rebuild and re clad projects being undertaken simultaneously on site. Having said that the temporary classes provide (we call them villages) are actually better than many of the existing classrooms.
- Student productivity in my view remains low… I think it is less than 60%, even in classrooms with a low behaviour management overhead. I tell students that if they were my employees I would probably sack them. A related problem is students that are just at school… because there is no where else to go. I can see why: having them on the roll does keep them off the street and maintains school funding…
- Some teachers defending poor working conditions and pay from a relativity perspective. “They’re not as bad as….”. I still wonder if education, being female dominated, has resulted in exploitation with poorer working conditions and remuneration.
- Poor processes persist… and it may well be easier to just follow poor process… unless it really matters
- Increasing social welfare role of schools ie dedicated councilors and the expectation that teachers will provide increased pastoral support – under guise of care for students and relationship management.
- Holidays at end of year : 49 days of non contact – it’s a bit like early annual retirement, albeit you do need to do some preparation and professional development…
- Establishing a modern learning environment: 100 minute lessons, Ako for learning how to learn, BYOD, integration of new technologies into class rooms… never ending, interesting and lots of fun.