Did you cry?

I gave my senior class (Year 13) 25 minutes to create and answer their own post assessment survey. I gave them no direction, not even regards the number of questions. In fact I left the classroom and went had a coffee for 2o minutes. The objective was to gain student led feedback, in a scenario where an entire class had to coordinate themselves to deliver what was required in a very short period of time ie some students would need to take on leadership roles. I had expected something electronic but ultimately they did it using a simple whiteboard and tally mechanism. Good result and valuable feedback when I dug beneath the surface of there responses. Last question was a surprise “Did you cry?”, seems 3/17 did.

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Sex ed +


Sex Education

WEGC held an externally facilitated “Well-being” day recently for Year 11 students. The topics covered were:

  • Sexual Health Education,
  • Mental Health and
  • Healthy Relationships

Given New Zealand rates of teenage pregnancy, self harm and suicide definitely a good idea. Teacher expectations were “ take an active role in the workshops by joining the circle, discussion and activities (rather than be an observer“. Hmmm not sure I agreed with this, but I did attend, although my participation was somewhat constrained. One area I did offer a view point was the sending of naked images to boyfriends. This was featured in a video along with consequences to students, school etc… While the girl featured in the video as sending the images had done nothing wrong, my view was that sending the images was probably not a wise thing to do given…

  1. the recipient may not be your boyfriend next week, month or year
  2. phones can be compromised, and (not stated at the time)
  3. given the depicted ages of the students concerned this action may be technically illegal

Not sure the instructor agreed with the view point, and call me old fashioned but I remain of the view that “just because you can, and it is totally within your rights, it may still not be a wise thing to do”.

Last thought – Year 11 may be a couple of years late for some of this material.

Have to say… teaching has a diversity of experiences…


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Tui in Island Bay

Experimenting with YouTube again…

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How many girls to make a dress?

7 at least… Students preparing a dress made from a sheet no less, for a competitive fashion event. Teaching has a diverse range of experiences.

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Paint by numbers?

Interesting article in the NZ Herald about plagiarism ad worth a read… In essence it seems OK to memorize exemplars to gain Excellence…

But NZ History Teachers Association treasurer Greg Burnard said memorising previous years’ exemplars was “reasonably widespread across the country”. “Memorising an exemplar is not going to be punished, essentially,” he said. “It’s not seen as cheating, it’s just seen as being well prepared.”

I remember the most challenging exam question I ever had was in a Computer Science paper by Professor John Hine… He gave us a picture of a microcomputer chip – one  we had never seen before. The question was pretty much explain the components, what do they do, how do they work, how would you improve the design (or something like that)…  And it was open book, although when testing understanding open book does not help at all.

I suspect there is not a huge incentive to change external examinations too much – this may lead to a decline in “pass rates”… or am I being too cynical.

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Safetravel barriers to registration

School policy states that students should be registered with Safetravel when going overseas. No problem, just get the travel agent to do it for the 27 student we are taking to the US in 3 weeks time. The response from the travel agent was:

“Unfortunately we are no longer able to register groups on their behalf. Safetravel now require written permission from all participants to be included in any group registration. Many schools are now asking parents to register their children individually.”

Assuming this is accurate, I think it creates quite a barrier to registration. I duly decided to follow the process myself, just to see what is involved. And there follows the usual hefty registration process with three security questions and a requirement for a strong password. Another barrier to registration … somehow I doubt if many of the students will be registered. I noticed that the safe travel web site did note even offer the all of government authentication option of “Realme” ? How come?

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Teacher evaluation and re registration

Part of the process of teacher re-registration involves providing evidence that you meet the practicing teachers criteria… see here

Sadly this drives a whole pile of paper work while I collect evidence… Frankly I would rather the authorities just…

  1. Ask my peers
  2. Ask my managers
  3. Ask the parents
  4. Most important ask the students
  5. Look at my results (subject to moderation)

Sounds like a 360 degree performance management appraisal to me…

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