Thursday, November 20, 2008

What really matters

What really is important and what is not so important for children to have learnt by the time they leave school. It becomes more and more apparent that there is a complete disjointedness from primary to intermediate to secondary school. 

The secondary schools are forced to be result driven and primary schools are able to be holistically driven. Surprisingly though, even if us Primaries are allowed to be holistically driven we are still very focussed on our results in Literacy and Numeracy.  With this holistic philosophy we are able to be creative with the curriculum and are able to ignite thinking and creativity in classroom programmes. It makes for exciting teaching, fun in the classroom and a determination to be experts in the execution of teaching of Reading Writing and Numeracy.

I have dumbed down my expectations for my own son as he moves through intermediate and secondary school.
This is not, I hope, because of crap teaching but instead of the perception of what is valued and believed to be important. These schools are expected to be achieving results, gaining examination passes. The same old tricks of not letting the dummies sit exams, accelerating children into "Cambridge" classes as early as year 9 so they can "score well" for the school is the norm in our secondary schools now. Everything is about passing so schools can get a good name, and lets be honest schools are great at cheating. "Cheating" how dare you accuse schools of cheating, I use the word liberally, in the Richie McCaw sense, he obeys the rules but pushes them to the extreme limit every time he plays the game. A Principal who is not playing the game McCaw style is considered a poor principal.

The thing for me is that i don't give a shit about the actual exam results my son gains. Of course I'm proud FOR him if he does well, but I will be proud OF him if he succeeds in the things that really matter.

So what really matters.
How about: someone who thinks of and respects others
someone who is prepared to assess and take risks
someone who is a giver
a learner for life
a contributer to society
someone you are proud to call son

Saturday, November 8, 2008


The GPC conference was an excellent time to reflect, chat and seek out new knowledge. I am staggered about how much knowledge people hold. What I have come to realise is that it is important to be yourself. All the principals are doing things differently and we synthesise ideas and put these into practice in so many different ways, yet the values and beliefs of all principals was very similar. What then became so important was "how do you do things" what ideas, and actions do you use that I could replicate. The sharing sessions were honest and these were followed up by the multiple "unconference" conversations.
I saw how Principals need the big picture and it was great to see how everyone has cleverly thought through their systems, there was a lot of "blue" in the room. 
The absolute belief for strong values within a school community was blindingly obvious but with this group the great thing is that is isn't just "talk".

So what are the quick conclusions:
We do things different and thats OK.
Communication with colleagues, staff, community, kids, is paramount.
Being wrong is OK.
Take time to smell the roses.
Its about PEOPLE.
he tangata he tangata he tangata