Monday, October 24, 2011

Stand By Your Man

I'm not sure if I've blogged about this before but i will have another go at it. Graham Henry was the coach of our national rugby team who were expected to be world champions in 2007, he had had four years, no expense spared and access to the worlds best players. He famously said when challenged "judge me by my results". The team were out at the quarter finals stage and the hatred of a country were all over this man, they wanted blood. Henry also seemed to say that he didn't make any mistakes, and then he put his name in the hat for reappointment for another four years. The NZ rugby union amazingly re-appointed him.
I was the biggest supporter of the re-appointment of Graham Henry as All Black coach. This is where the gold comes from.
It's about failure and success. Sports teams, schools, staff members, teachers, children, parents, we all go through these tough times, we make mistakes. The key is to learn from your mistakes and not to make them again. Over the four years from 2007 to 2011 Henry used hindsight, and adjusted and learnt, he planned meticulously, and brought redemption in 2011.

So what can we learn from this little ditty.
Making mistakes happens to everyone we must learn from them and take action.
Standing by your man is important especially in tough times.
Believe in yourself.
Be prepared to take a good look at yourself.
Trust in others but don't surround yourself with "yes men".
Challenge your ideas, have others you respect challenge you.
Don't get ahead of yourself.
Experience is really valuable.
Have the guts to make a tough decision.

Thanks Ted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A tweet fest is lots of fun and following a conference from afar can be good solid stuff. But when you get the obvious stuff tweeted and retweeted you start to doubt the quality of the tweeter. Nothing more obvious than a punter tweeting from a keynote with comments like "children need technology access" or "teachers should be facilitators/floaters".
The reality is that "opinion" is often left out of tweets and direct quotes seem to be the etiquette. I remember a ulearn from a few years back, when we were early to twitter, and the tweets were about the peoples opinion of the keynote speaker, how good bad they are/were. This was embarrassing as the keynote speaker got a bit of negative stuff, we have grown up, but now seem to stick to very safe statements.
Twitter can come back and bite you if you tweet negative stuff, but i think opinion is ok if its clear that its your opinion. So come on guys give us your feelings and opinions. If someone was awesome let us know, send us the link, feed the backs.

Of course there is nothing better than actually being there and networking, thats where the discussion is at its best. Enjoying the conference.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ten Questions

Q: Is it really John Keys fault that a boat hit a reef and he personally didn't drive out a boat and start pumping the oil off Rena by hand?
A: No but it's great watching him squirm around and finally not win votes from a disaster.

Q: Who do you blame when your hard drive plays up now that Steve has gone?
A: Is it Hank? or just look for some guy in San Fran in a black turtle neck and jeans.

Q: Are schools mad buying technology for kids and not sending the devices home?
A: Yes its a personal device the whole 24/7 thing is the only way to go.

Q: Are the warriors fans a bunch of low life bogans, homies and riff raff?
A: No but one of those bastards nicked our warriors flag from the front of the school and we want it back. I know, get over it!

Q: Is your twitter stream needing a makeover, are you sick of the same tweets from the same bastards?
A: Yes, but any addiction is hard to kick, and i'm still interested.

Q: Are you concerned that the national standards were changed and no one told us?
A: Annoyed yes, concerned maybe. Do I care - no

Q: Is Lion way better now you've been running it for two months?
A: I turned all the new "features" off and its like I'm running snow leopard so who cares.

Q: Is anything good about Lion?
A: Yes i found a feature from OS9 days that they have re-established. Click once on a file or select multiple files and then "command-P". You guessed it, they print. Thanks Hank (see above).
Theres one for your sMACdown.

Q: RWC is anyone feeling sorry for South Africa?
A: No, not today, not tomorrow, not next week, month or year.

Q: If you were told that the national standards helped you inquire into your own practice would you be more forthcoming or positive toward them?
A: No not really?

Q: How good is having the short term 4?
A: Real good, these holidays are brilliant and with only 8 weeks. Kapow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blinded by the data?

It seems like every piece of quality teaching has to be backed up with evidence and data. Every decision we make has to have measurable outcomes. After spending a few hours at the NZPF education summit it became a little more obvious that there was some discourse around what truly is measurable. Several comments around measurable success: is it really about PISA and OECD or is it something less measurable but more tangible. Sometimes as a teacher we have the gut feelings and gain lots of success but not necessarily in a reading age or maths score/stage. Sometimes its an innate knowledge of where to go next, we must always have these opportunities open and celebrated.

A challenge laid to teachers around Maori and Pacifika learners is that without identity and relationships then academic success will not happen. Seems simple and obvious but do you measure identity and relationships. Are they measurable? If you don’t measure them then have you critiqued what they are, broken them down and set a plan for implementing them. Ka Hikitia is not a strategy, its a philosophy/framework, schools need to devise a strategy, make a plan for all students and implement it. Schools have break down what works for their learners and set some reachable goals and scaffold these on their values and beliefs. Its not all about data or test results there are other more important things. Define them, articulate them, do them.

So i’m going to ask, what does your living local curriculum look like sound like smell like?

What are the non negotiables ?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sports and Life - Parallels

This rugby world cup has ignited a few memories of children who I have taught or coached, so I will pause and go back through the short list for you. Kevin Mealamu (All Blacks) from Tokoroa then Aorere College, he was a good keen flanker and a tough player. James Arlidge (Japan) went to Dillworth had a good kick and was a tidy player. Khan Fotualii (Samoa) went to Onehunga High, couldn't make the top team was a good reserve, lacked a few skills, but loved playing with his mates. Samiu Vahafolau (Tonga) went to Onehunga High, was a giant at school but relied on his size too much. The thing is that these guys didn't attend the elite colleges, they had to work hard to get where they are today and they are scattered in all parts of the globe. None of them were the childhood stars, they we good keen players without being anything special. It's a good message to us all that hard work and dedication pays off no matter what field we are in.
In 2003 a boy who I taught was playing at the rugby world cup for Tonga. He was a New Zealand age grade player and had been a schoolboy star in New Zealand. After playing overseas he was selected for Tonga and played at two rugby world cups. They played the All Blacks and lost by plenty. After the game he rushed into the opposition changing room to see his friends who were now All Blacks, he took with him a bag to fill up with freebie All Black gear, jerseys socks, shorts, some stuff for his mum, after all these were his childhood friends. Sadly those 2003 All Blacks just looked straight through him, they said "hi" and turned back toward their teammates. He knew at that time, that things had changed. He was telling me this story when he said "they will lose, they will get what they deserve". It has stuck with me and he was right. I watched it repeated in 2007 when the All Blacks holidayed during the world cup and capitulated in Cardiff. Wind the clock ahead 4 years and how they have learnt. They have reached out to the country, many many children have met their heroes, they have signed everything, turned up to everything and they even went to Kaeo! They may not bring home the bacon and win this cup but in my eyes they have done what is right, they have kept their feet on the ground and stuck to their values. This has been highlighted this week with photos that parents have shown and sent me of their children with the men in black. I think that as parents and as a community it is important to keep the values that are important to us no matter what our status, fame, or salary because in the end as my friend Sililo said "you get what you deserve". When I look at the our schools values this little story reminds me about integrity, being truthful to yourself and others.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do we really have to make lemonade?

WTF, we have Student Achievement Practitioners who are lemons. An ex cop a dental assistant and a (apparently) failed unregistered Principal. I was told the other day that the MOE forgot to check registration status. Anne says differently but she would.

My question is who do you put in front of your staff to lead PD?
Do you do your homework?
Do you ensure they are of the highest quality?
Do you have the right to check the CV's and teaching records, and registration status of any PD provider?
Do you have the right to ask for someone respected?
Where is the list of the 47 SAP's and their credentials?
Do you care?