Hekia Parata shared this meme on her Facebook page today, and good on her. As all good Kiwis know, we must never miss a chance to link something – anything – to the All Blacks.
However, the analogy is entirely faulty.
Does she propose we take just the top, say 15, students in the country and throw all we have at them. Fund them the most, give them the very best equipment, best medical care, best physiotherapists, best food, best buildings and sports fields, best transport, and all the positive support a country can muster?
But what about the other students? No, that can’t be what she meant.
Perhaps she meant the teachers are the All Blacks?
That might work, because we do and always have used data to inform us in our classrooms and schools, and we do try to improve and have fun. Excellent, that must be it.
Oh, wait… I presume The All Blacks don’t have to run their planned moves by the Minister, though? Or send their data in a couple of times a year for some civil servants to check over? Or get sudden edicts from the Ministry or Minister saying how they should play from now on. Hmmm… so the analogy falls apart again.
Of course it falls apart no matter which way you look at it, because it’s just a soundbite and means nothing.
Teachers are not the All Blacks. Nor are we the All Black captain.
We coach the ones who play well, the ones who don’t,
the ones with boots, the ones without,
the ones who would rather have a punch up than play to the rules,
the ones who want to play but are too shy or unsure,
the ones who think they are Richie McCaw when in fact they are more Ritchie Valens,
the ones who try so hard but never quite get to the top team,
the ones who blow your mind by making great leaps forward,
the hungry ones who can’t focus,
the depressed ones whose minds are somewhere else,
the ones going home to a warm dry house and the ones going home to mould,
the ones who can’t see the ball,
the ones who run the wrong way,
the ones who’d rather draw the ball or redesign it,
the ones who want to be an All Black
and the ones who don’t –
the ones who can be an All Black
and the ones who can’t.
What we are is the coach of all the teams – ALL of them – and we can’t and shouldn’t pick our players. We should teach the team we get.
So, if being an All Black teacher means picking only the very best, I’d rather be a little league coach any day.
~ Dianne Khan, SOSNZ