I am your child’s teacher. My role as educator extends far beyond the walls of my classroom. It is my profession, what I practice.
I ask you this:
My life’s work. The countless hours I spend with your child presenting new material, creating on-going formative assessments that are authentic and based on your student’s individual needs at a given moment in time, the active learning and knowledge-construction happening in my classroom on a daily basis, the time I spend creating lessons which require students to build upon and re-evaluate prior knowledge and the work that reflects the relationship that I have worked diligently to foster with your student: is it worth putting all of this hard-won expertise on the back-burner so that someone can divert money intended for your child?
The person your child is and how he/she learns and grows cannot be gauged by an answer bubbled onto a sheet of paper. Your student deserves my full expertise, not a narrowed curriculum and hours devoted to my teaching to the test. My colleagues and I deserve to be freed from the negative impact that the calculated teacher-bashing and union-bashing is having on our profession…because it is calculated, and by this point I don’t think I need to tell you by whom.
So please, educate yourself. Have a voice in this issue….”
or better still, watch the video and hear Christine read her letter…
She says what so many, many of us are thinking.
“Hi! It’s me! Yeah, that teacher who got way too much press just for quitting his job.
What kind of world do we live in where a teacher leaves and is celebrated by his colleagues and several dozen parents for just up and leaving?
Well, we live in a world where teachers don’t really fit in any more. You see, there’s a cohort of three groups of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing (and school-bus-yellow superhero capes) that have decided that they know better than teachers how kids learn.
In fact, they’re very good at spreading the idea that teachers are to blame for failing schools, teachers get paid too much, teachers have pensions that are crashing the economy, and teachers like to get a little too friendly with their students. Oh, and they tend to just up and leave when the heat of standardized test pressure gets too high (I was actually accused of that).
But let me tell you the truth….”
The man talks complete sense.
He knows what teaching is.
He knows what learning is.
HE SPEAKS UP.
I love him.
Who in New Zealand would like to do the same for our teachers, before we end up in the same pickle the USA is in?
We need your voices now.
The Minister of Education has spent much of her time, notably on Q+A and during Parliamentary Question Time on 16th October and 17th October, dancing around questions and offering responses that fail to address the actual questions. Even the speaker of the house seemed exasperated on a number of occasions, trying to get a straight answer out of her. In my experience, people who answer in the kind of way Ms Parata does have one of two problems – they are either not very bright and do not understand what is being asked, or they understand only too well and do not want to give the answer.
3/10 For Accuracy
Just about everyone is aware that there were errors in the original information upon which closure/merger/relocation decisions were based. Now it transpires that even more errors have been unearthed. “It is concerning that new information is only now coming to light. This is information that should have been given earlier if school principals and their boards and communities were to have any meaningful dialogue with the Government” said NZEI President, Ian Leckie today.
Sorry, Did I Say Flexibility?
Despite all this, and despite repeated assurances from the Minister, Hekia Parata, that she is listening and the consultation is genuine, no flexibility will be given to Christchurch schools fighting for their survival. No opportunity for extra time, support or help in any shape, way or form in fact. Yes, that sure sounds like they’re listening. Sure sounds like they’re flexible.
A Shameful Roll-Call
Christchurch is suffering. That’s the fact of the matter.
The quakes have left behind huge ongoing problems and a stressed and exhausted people. Health and alcohol problems are on the rise as time moves on and issues are not resolved. According to an article in Scoop today, “Chris Mene said proposed school mergers and closures affected families in the ”most deprived and vulnerable areas.” and “Andrew Dickerson said the ”appalling performance” of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, the Earthquake Commission and insurance companies would take its toll on people’s mental wellbeing.” Andrew might well have added The Ministry of Education to that roll-call.
Just being upset or angry is not going to help. Action is needed.
The boards of schools in greater Christchurch proposed for merger or closure will have until 7 December to carry out consultation with their local communities and report back on the proposals. Find out where community consultation evenings are taking place – go along – see what you can do to help.
At Chisnallwood Intermediate, a community consultation evening is to be held in the school gymnasium on Wednesday 31st of October at 7 pm. They are asking for everyone to attend and support them. They have invited politicians, education ministry people, media, community boards, etc. It would be astounding to have a high community turn-out to canvass opinions and show the government that this matter is of huge and high importance to the community.
And if you know of further events, feel free to add details or links in the comments below.
Kia Kaha, Christchurch.
Links & Further Reading
Proposals for state primary and intermediate schools can be found on the Shaping Education website – http://shapingeducation.minedu.govt.nz.
Geotechnical information will inform future proposals for secondary provision in Christchurch. For more information, see Proposals for Future of Christchurch Schools [PDF; 90kb]
Principals denied more time to respond: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7824735/Deadline-stands-Parata
Schools Grieving – Longstone: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/schools/7818675/Schools-grieving-Longstone
Schools all ears for Ministry talks: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7810511/Schools-all-ears-for-ministry-talks
“BUILDING AN EDUCATION PLAN THAT WORKS FOR CHRISTCHURCH
The Christchurch education sector has now experienced its biggest aftershock. Having shown true strength in the aftermath of the tragedy of a natural disaster, it now needs to respond to an educational renewal plan for the greater Christchurch region that challenges the integrity of its educational communities.
Whatever emerges as the educational renewal plan for the greater Christchurch region, it must reinforce the strength and connections early childhood services and schools have established with their local communities. As we know, this has been the hallmark of numerous international and national educational successes.
The NZ example includes:
– local communities that fully engage in the education of their children and young people;
– the contribution of community as the backbone of the administration of NZ schools;
– the engagement of early childhood education family and trustees, and Kōhanga Reo whānau development;
– Māori medium options in partnership with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities.
LOCAL COMMUNITY VIEWS CRITICAL
In support of our Christchurch colleagues and learners, the Teachers Council urges all teachers and professional leaders to engage in the consultation in good faith.
It may be trite to say “it takes a village to raise a child”, but it remains a reality.
We have not only numerous examples of the positive contribution and critical involvement of the community in our early childhood services, kura, primary and secondary schools, but a body of sound national* and international research findings in this area.
Any educational decision about a school or early childhood service in the greater Christchurch region must involve the views and perspectives of its local community.
*The Complexity of Community and Family Influences on Children’s Achievement in New Zealand: BES Iteration (Fred Biddulph, Jeanne Biddulph and Chris Biddulph, 2003).”
Article quoted from Kaimanga Issue 82, dated 29.9.12, received by email.
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