The Standards, the Expert Teachers from Beacon Schools, the Super Head.
I was a Beacon Schools teacher. I led in-service for Deputy Principals and Teachers on using assessment effectively to target children.
I worked with teachers to better analyse data. Organise their systems and interpret info they had.
My kids from a low decile school did as well as kids from affluent areas because as a staff we worked our socks off together, collaborating, sharing info, communicating.
When we became one of the first Beacon Schools it seemed important to share our practice with others. We went corporate. We hosted other teachers from a range of schools. They loved coming to see our school.
We saw it as a positive at first.
Then we started to get tired. We were still full time teaching and this was extra-it didn’t matter that we were paid a bit extra-time is finite in a week. The advisors who used to support schools vanished and we seemed to be taking over their role without the full support needed to do the job well. No secondments, just fit it all in.
Extra cash yes but only for me and not for the classroom (like many teachers I spent it on my class though).
I worked at weekends, I slogged and planned and delivered.
Did I make a difference-to my children in my own class-yes, they started to fail.
They were Reception Age kids (age 4 to 5)-the upheaval of other teachers coming in and me being out disrupted their education. I began to lose my creativity. I began to teach only to a test. I became a narrow educator.
So I worked harder to make sure I didn’t fail them.
I watched as my own children at home went out for the afternoon with someone else at the weekend because mum was too busy. Still I worked hard, believing I was doing some good.
Then one day I looked in the mirror, looked at my class, looked at my own 2 children and questioned WHY!
Why was I working every hour I wasn’t sleeping?-the answer, so schools could meet their government targets.
The children were not benefiting from a broad experience, they were being jumped over hurdles.
I had never been motivated by the money.
I stopped, gave up my responsibilities and had 3 months off, moved to a cottage in Scotland.
I was not about money; I was about growing great kids.
I was happier and so were my kids.
Then I missed the classroom and back I went.
Then I heard of a place where innovation and creative thinking were still valued in teaching, where there was a holistic approach, where discussion and dialogue between professionals was encouraged-so I came to NZ.
I loved it.
Then… we all know what happened next.
The Who summed it up ‘We won’t get fooled again!’