Tuesday, February 2, 2010

We should return the favour

Need to talk about a mate up north, when I say mate I don't use the term lightly. I'm talking about a man with a heart as big as all outdoors, a guy who left school at 13, who dabbled with gangs, crime, raised 7 siblings when his parents died, raised 8 of his own kids and is now onto raising his grand kids. All this and he is about 6 years older than me. Me and my nice clean house, two little podgorani's, mrs podgorani, and the four legged potlicker. Mr education, nice job, lovely but blissfully ignorant.
My maori bro uses the harbour like his local shop, nothing new here. The thing that amazes me is that when the fish aren't biting he goes for cockles, pipis, oysters. No snapper doesn't mean no fish either. Mullet run in the estuaries, flounder in the shallow bays, kawhaii in the inner harbour, piper come out at night, whitebait, even parore in the creeks. I've seen my mate go for all these fish, enough to feed his family and a few mates, someone who calls in, or the whanau in the big smoke, its always all about feeding other people. When the fishing is crap i've seen my mate head to the creek for eels. Its a joy to watch, he just loves feeding everyone he can, the stories are rich, the recipes hilarious, and love for whanau unmistakable.
I am so lucky to be part of this whanau, not by relation, but by the fact I taught the kids 10 years ago. So when we go fishing together I just shut up and learn. Have you ever had a net in the water, full of flounder and then pulled up a stingray at least a meter across with a long tail? What do you do? Me I shit myself, my mate says nonchalantly "pass me the knife", he's a bloody legend. I've nothing to offer apart from steering the boat and rowing quietly which I can't do well enough.
So what can I do for him. His kids and now his grand kids face an education system that continues to fail them. The local school got the worst ERO report ever written. There is no other school in the area, all the others were closed under the Labour Govt. National are now saying they will fix it with testing and reporting on progress. Sorry guys this wont fix it either. By the way these are the exact kids who aren't even sitting NCEA level 1.

My mate Mr Russty says no one wants nat standards but no one offers any other solutions and something has to be done.
I have some solutions/ideas but the union wont like it. I want ERO to have the ability to sack teachers and principals who are a joke, the ability to pay some good people heaps, to sort out the schools that need it. I want principals who are doing great stuff to be able to take a break of two/three years, pick up the failing schools and return home after the job has been done. I want real principals to develop aspiring principals, not these w...kers in wellington running psychometric tests on potential principals. I want schools who have rubbish BOT's to be given autonomy to get the job done without communities interfering. I want leadership from the MOE/NZPF not "here is your property" - but leadership, leadership we respect, here is your performance on all sorts of levels, here is how you can improve, hey you're doing a shit hot job, go help Bob down the road or take this school and come back when you've nailed it.
Here is my absolute clanger:

There is no incentive for Principals who are doing a great job to move. Bring in eight year contracts. You must leave after eight years, full stop. It isn't fair that my mate up north can teach me so much and I cant help him.


Jaco Broodryk said...

Loved the story.

Some very interesting points / suggestions at the end. I'm still thinking about them, but I totally agree that our system needs to change in regards to people not doing their jobs and our ability to help other schools. I think part of the problem is the inherent conflict between self-governance and the "system".

Podgorani said...

Mate im with you too about some of my suggestions, Im not sure about all of them (or any), i am not advocating them in a radical sense, what i am trying to do is say that there are other ways. Mr Russty wants superintendents and I kind of like the idea, but who will they be? Will they be the same old tweet jacket plonkers or power suit chics and are they our current advocates, me hopes not.
Stiil its all food (or fish) for thought.

Maurice said...

Hey Luke.

Yes we should be more hardnosed about how we can sort out schools that need help. Maybe something similar to the old 'country service' that teachers used to do...maybe incentives for principals who have proven themselves to be successful...maybe the superintendent concept that your mate likes

Podgorani said...

yeah morrie we gotta do something but as i read in the herald somewhere this weekend amid the teacher bashing was "education is filled with theory and short of facts". seems my theories will be put to pasture early.

im a big believer in a "country service" or possibly "decile 1 service"

Danny said...

Interesting perspective Luke...
do you feel teachers should have some type of eight year contract as well? Often the resistance to implementing change for principals comes from the staff that have been there 10 years+ - and it's these people who make the principals work so difficult much of the time.

And shouldn't rural principalship be a mandatory part of the career pathway? It seems to be becoming less and less the case unfortunately.

Podgorani said...

Danny here we are now in a paid union meeting scenario with principals and what claims are they asking for? we are going for some pay rise, something insignificant.. we should be offering something

like an 8yr contract or a country service thing.

I think if we offer something then we will be rewarded with something.

We should think differently otherwise what we get is what we deserve. Rural service was brilliant for me, and a massive learning curve.