Assignment One for my Masters in Māori and Indigenous Leadership

Identify a recent media story* that in some way engages with Māori and/or Indigenous leadership. Discuss how that story displays elements of Māori leadership, as well as contemporary challenges to the nature and attributes of leadership that are needed within our communities at this time.

My first year as a primary school principal was in 2010. I was an optimistic 29 years old who was absolutely clueless about the complexities of leadership. During that time, the Ministry of Education had invested heavily into creating The First Time Principals Programme (FTPP). The programme would educate new principals in the “leadership practices that have the greatest impact on student outcomes” (Robinson et al., 2009).

The FTPP conference gathered over 200 first time principals from across Aotearoa. Conference speakers included the Minister for Education the Honorable Anne Tolley, Alice Apryll Parata noted principal, and Dr Vivianne Robinson, co-author of the Best Evidence Synthesis [BES] – School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why. The speakers shared the same key message, Māori were disproportionately represented in the long tail of student underachievement. We, as school leadership, were the key to changing the statistics and we needed to do better for our Māori students.

A defining moment for me occurred as Apryll Parata spoke about Māori drop-out rates in schools. My neighbour (a middle-aged Pākehā woman) leaned over and asked “Well, what worked for you?” I replied, “Nothing, I dropped out too”. I remember her look of shock and non-comprehension as she responded “Oh, I thought you would have been one of the ones that did well at school.” I pretended not to hear her as I wondered if I was classed as a member of the long tail. I looked up at Parata, before casting my eyes wide and surveyed the 95% non-Māori new principals sitting in that room, and thought… “Well nothing’s going to get any better from this room while we (Māori) are excluded from the supposed solution”.

A heartbreaking revelation to have so early in my career. The combined potential influence in that room could have made a critical positive difference in the achievement and well-being of thousands of Māori students (Robinson et al., 2009). Yet less than half a dozen of the attendees knew what it was like to be Māori in a school in Aotearoa. My experiences there left me with the feeling that Māori Educational Leadership is not valued as an effective resource to challenge disproportionate underachievement in our schools. All the more frustrating when the Ministry of Education’s own literature specifically referred to Māori Educational Leaders as change agents capable of challenging existing power structures and becoming strong advocates for Māori students in their schools (Robinson et al., 2009).

As I look back, I wonder what kind of effect could have been achieved if even half of those first time principals had been Māori like me. This thought saddens me. Not once, since my pale inauguration into the world of principalship, have I seen evidence that the Ministry of Education has acknowledged the imbalance of non-Māori leadership versus Māori leadership in our schools today.

While the article I have chosen is not specifically situated within the education space, it is a tale of leadership, founded within Te Ao Māori. It spoke to me as it perfectly illustrated the potential for positive change which was lost in that room back in 2010. It answers the question; what would happen if Māori were empowered to lead as Māori, while facing the contemporary challenges found within today’s society?

The article from The Spinoff, entitled The story behind the fight to save Ihumātao is a retrospective interview by Justin Latif (2020) with Qiane Matata-Sipu. Matata-Sipu and her group of local cousins stopped a housing project, due to be developed on land stolen from the local indigenous community in 1865. Their efforts as Māori leaders restored that land, Ihumātoa to tangata whenua in 2021 (Latif, 2020).

Latif (2020) provides the reader with intimate insight into Matata-Sipu and her cousins’ development into a uniquely Māori style of leadership. Through their leadership, the Save Our Unique Landscape campaign (S.O.U.L) would grow to include thousands of members globally and lead to the occupation of Ihumātao. Historians, archaeologists, and academics, both Māori and non-Māori, supported the cause that would take the group to the United Nations, twice (Latif, 2020).

To understand how Matata-Sipu and her five cousins came to lead this group, it is important to understand the epistemology of Māori Leadership. In his paper, Māori Leadership in Governance, Professor Hirini Mead (2006) synthesises and modernises two lists of eight traditional leadership qualities by Te Rangikahake of Ngati Rangiwewehi, Te Arawa and Himiona Tikitu of Ngati Awa. He refers to these qualities as The Eight Talents for Today or Pumanawa (Mead et al., 2006).

The Eight Talents for Today:

    1. Manage, mediate and settle disputes to uphold the unity of the group.
    2. Ensure every member of the group is provided base needs and ensures their growth.
    3. Bravery and courage to uphold the rights of hapū and the iwi.
    4. Leading the community forward, improving its economic base and its mana.
    5. Need for a wider vision and a more general education than is required for every day matters.
    6. Value manaakitanga.
    7. Lead and successfully complete big projects.
    8. Know the traditions and culture of their people, and the wider community (p.10 ). (Katene, 2010, p.11)

Mead (1997) states that Māori Leadership must not only lie within one’s whakapapa, but also in the mandate given to them by the leader’s people. Matata-Sipu grew up on the pā at the feet of her grandparents surrounded by political conversations and governance decisions her grandparents made for her hapū (Latif, 2020). Through whakapapa and Mead’s (2006) pumanawa, Matata-Sipu and her cousins created a leadership network which gained the mandate to lead their people. The alliance they formed around S.O.U.L, became the key to creating momentum in the outside world. The leadership partnerships they formed strengthened their campaign to its eventual acknowledgement and concessions by The Crown (Latif, 2020).

In Latif’s article, each of the pumanawa organically appears as Matata-Sipu recollects the story of Ihumātoa and the networked leadership roles each of her cousins took upon themselves. We experience first hand the cousins’ growth into the mantle of leadership until we reach the climax of the occupation, the attempted eviction of the rightful owners of the stolen lands. The uniqueness and power of Māori Leadership can be seen in Matata-Sipu’s recollection of the day the New Zealand Police came to evict them.

“It was really emotional. Everyone was so upset, and as the sun set behind the police, I just fucking cried my eyes out. I was thinking about all the kids, and what they had to see and then also thinking about our grandparents, and all they had done for this place. I was mourning for everything we had lost over generations, for our tūpuna, for our whenua.
“And I thought about my grandfather and how he wouldn’t have let this happen, and as I looked at the sunset, and the maunga, and my nieces singing, I cried out to my tūpuna, saying to them, ‘we need you to be here right now, if we ever needed you – we need you right now’.”
And in that moment Matata-Sipu found the strength she needed. (Latif, 2020)

Crisis surrounded Matata-Sipu and her cousins. It was from that moment and her connection with her tīpuna that she was able to find the courage and commitment to succeed. The article When Leadership Spells Danger, Heifetz and Linsky (2004) discusses the contemporary theory of leadership which forms around to two different types of leadership challenges – technical challenges and adaptive challenges (Heifetz & Linsky, 2004).

Technical challenges prescribe to the common misconception that the sole requirement of leadership is expertise to resolve the problems we face, not unlike a mechanic fixing a car (Heifetz & Linsky, 2004, p.35). Technical challenges are an easy managerial fix, they involve seeing a simple problem such as a gap in communication and a simple fix such as forming a Facebook group to reach a global audience. In fact, the entire campaign for Ihumātoa was founded via a clear and concise Facebook post written by Matata-Sipu in 2015 (Latif, 2020).

The challenge which Matata-Sipu faced as she stood in defiance of the police eviction was anything but a simple technical fix. The incredibly complex problems Matata-Sipu and her cousins beheld that day were born out of the same colonising tools the crown had designed to subjugate Māori since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 (Walker, 2016). The tools which allowed the theft of mana whenua and subsequent vilification of Matata-Sipu and S.O.U.L for fighting for return of that mana whenua (Muru-Lanning, 2020) are the same tools which are still manipulated by those in power “to maintain an unjust social order between Māori and Pakeha” (Walker, 2016, p.20).

Heifetz and Linsky (2004) call these kinds of incredibly complex problems adaptive challenges. Adaptive challenges often involve leadership living up to their convictions; “to closing the gap between their espoused values and their actual behaviour” (Heifetz & Linsky, 2004, p.33). What we see in Latif’s article is that Matata-Sipu and her cousins understood instinctively that the “solutions to adaptive challenges lie not in technical answers, but rather in people themselves” (Heifetz & Linsky, 2004, p.35).

Colonisation and its effect on the lives of Māori through multiple generations has been compounded by successive systemically racist government policies which have created a problem so complicated that the adaptive leadership capabilities needed to solve them seem almost insurmountable (Walker, 2016). Since the 1960 Hunn Report on Māori Affairs, subsequent investigations have frequently found that the gaps between Māori and European health, education, wealth, employment and economic development have all deteriorated (Walker, 2016).

Yet within the story of Ihumātao we see contemporary Māori Leadership force one of Aotearoa’s largest listed companies (Fletcher Building, n.d.) to backing off from their lucrative deal, and a once resistant government buying out that building giant. In fact, Matata-Sipu and her cousins are just one iteration of Māori Leadership successfully counteracting the colonial tools of subjugation created by the crown (Walker, 2016). Sir Apirana Ngata, Sir Peter Buck, Dame Whina Cooper, Ranginui Walker, Sir Mason Durie, Sir Tipene O’Regan, Hanna O’Regan and Dame Tariana Turia to name just a few are all incredibly successful people, facing complicated, adaptive challenges, and meeting those challenges using Mead’s (2006) eight pumanawa.

I have been a primary school principal for twelve years now a Leading Principal according to the career structure in my collective agreement. Last week I attended the Whakatane Principals’ Association meeting. Not all 25 members were in attendance, but it was my pleasure to help welcome the fifth Māori member to our association. I am still the minority Māori in the room.

Twelve years on from my conference nothing has changed for Māori. According to Education Counts 2019 data shows that over a third of Māori students are leaving school without Level Two NCEA. Retention rates for Māori are 12% behind the total number of students at 69.6%. In Term Two 2020 attendance rates for Māori dropped to 47.5%, while COVID-19 is a factor which should not be discounted, it is still 21.2% behind European students.

Schools are still not serving the needs of Māori students despite the millions of dollars spent on Māori achievement strategies in schools over the last 16 years. The 2013 – 2017 Māori Education Strategy Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success (Ka Hikitia) focused on teaching the teachers how to support Māori students to enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori (The Māori Education Strategy, 2013).
Ka Hikitia has five guiding principles. One of which states the following:

Māori students are more likely to achieve when they see themselves, and their experiences and knowledge reflected in teaching and learning. (The Māori Education Strategy, 2013, p.3)

Of the 61,000 teachers working in this country, only 7,403 identify as Māori. These strategies have not worked, and nor will they ever work because a non-Māori teacher, principal, educator will never understand what it is like to be Māori. Just like how that middle aged white woman could not comprehend that the first time principal seated next to her was a high school drop out. A non-Māori will never have the same connection to whakapapa nor understand that our connection to our tīpuna is not of the past but very much present in our now.

Further evidence of the positive effect of Māori students seeing themselves as normal in the classroom is provided in Dr Vivianne Robinson’s BES (2009) where she describes the challenges faced by educational leaders in tackling wide spread disparity amongst students:

A second challenge is to markedly improve educational provision for, and realise the potential of, Māori students. Recent national data suggest that Māori-medium schools are better serving Māori than English-medium … (Robinson et al., 2009, p.36)

Within this context it is important for the reader to know that the ethnicity of over 95% of Māori Medium teachers is Māori. Within Māori Medium schools Māori students see themselves as normal, and their normality as Māori reflected back at them through their teachers.

Until our tamariki can see that reflection surrounding them and nurturing them and staring right back at them kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) they will never enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori. This barrier has been created because 7,403 Māori teachers spread between 2,563 schools is only an average 2.8 teachers per school. That’s not many for the 200,000+ Māori students enrolled in 2020.

Matata-Sipu and her cousins changed the course of a multi-billion dollar company versus a tiny iwi south of Auckland in less than half the time that it took for all of our current Māori achievement strategies to fail. Matata-Sipu and her cousins proved that Māori Leadership that is deeply rooted in Te Ao Māori enabled them to be strong, connected and innovative, and ultimately to achieve success. Their ability to create a uniquely Māori network of leadership where responsibility was shared and talents strengthened by that network reinvigorates my own personal approach to leadership.

If the Ministry of Education was genuinely committed to its espoused values found within its own Māori Education Strategy (2013) then they must enact these values in its actual behaviour. The Ministry must follow the above clearly stated and well researched phenomenon of Māori Leadership. It can not continue to ignore the knowledge and evidence and refuse to act upon that evidence when forming policy. Our tamariki have been disadvantaged for far too long.

Heifetz, R. A., & Linsky, M. (2004, April). When Leadership Spells Danger. Educational Leadership, 61(Leading Tough Times), 33-37.

Walker, R. (2016) Reclaiming Māori Education. In Hutchings, J., & Lee-Morgan, J. (Eds.), Decolonisation in Aotearoa: Education, Research and Practice (pp. 19 – 39). NZCER Press.

Katene, S. (2010). Modelling Māori leadership: What makes for good leadership? MAI Review, 2010(2), 1 – 16.

Latif, J. (2020, December 18). The story behind the fight to save Ihumātao. The Spinoff.

The Māori Education Strategy. (2013). Summary of Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017. The Ministry of Education.

Mead, H., (1997). Landmarks, bridges and visions: Aspects of Māori culture. Wellington: Victoria University Press.

Mead, H. M.,(2006). Hui Taumata Leadership in Governance Scoping Paper. Wellington: Victoria University. Retrieved March 5, 2021, from

Muru-Lanning, C. (2020, December 19). The truth about Ihumātao: All the false claims and misinformation, corrected. The Spinoff.

Robinson, V., Hohepa, M., & Lloyd, C. (2009). School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why. The University of Auckland.

Coping with Change – Great Videos

These are two different kinds of change but excellent advice and can be used together at different points of the process.


  • Be realistic about the change you to make make it small and do able. “Don’t look at the whole mountain, focus on the first six steps”.
  • Commit a small time focus to reflect – as often more effective to large financial boosts.
  • Listen to the neigh sayers and the feedback and the criticisms but keep to your compass – your values.
  • Acknowledge what is not working – and let it go.
  • Don’t makes the ‘solution’ and then look for the problem (google glasses).
  • You must share … talk, learn and interact.
  • Should I do this thing?
    • Does it scratch my itch?
    • Would I still do it if it took twice as long? (You can only have two of the three – Cheap, Fast, Good).
    • Would I still do it if it cost twice as much?
    • Would I still do it if I used my own money?
    • Do I have a realistic plan and timeline?
    • Am I ok with failure?


How to get past the “it’s not going to happen wall”.
Not real reasons:

  • “It’s always been like this”: It means the problem is older than you think it is.
  • “It’s the same everywhere”: the problem is broader and wider than you think.
  • “It’s not in the budget”: it means we’ve spent the money in the wrong places.
  • “It’s not in the charter”: the people who were supposed to provide the vision weren’t thinking as big as you.
  • “It’s political”: “I’ve learned to keep my ideas to myself.”
  • “It’s just traditional”: “Actually, I don’t know why we’re doing this, but it’s always been that way.”

Five most classic reasons people resist change:

“I’m scared of the transition, not the idea.”
Helping people moving through the transition – three normal phases ‘the Negative – Interesting – Positive’

“I’m scared of the transition. I’m not scared about the idea.”
Everyone is scared of the unknown – keep people informed “yes it’s going to be bumpy and scary but we will get there”.

“I don’t know how big a deal this change really is.”
Transition is moving through Four Doors:
The first door are the things that we used to be able to do and can still do. I’ll get people to write a list.
Door number two are the things that we couldn’t do before and we still can’t do.
Door number three are the things that we could do before and we can’t do now.
You can for door number four. That’s a door that’s only recently opened. These are the things that we couldn’t do before but we can do now. It means I can make my job suit my lifestyle.

“I don’t see how I fit into any of this:
You give them authorship. You empower them to design the change for themselves. Suddenly they’re not responding to change, they’re taking control of change.
The tool: What did you keep? What did you chuck? What did you change? What did you add?

“Yeah, but people hate change.”
The truth is they want real change. They’re sick of believing something that isn’t real. They want something genuine. Questions to ask …
Is the change real or fake?
Is the change cultural or structural?
Is the change offered of foisted?

When working with a cynical, closed groups …

You can keep things the same or you can make a difference. But you can not do both. That is the choice you have to make. I’ve made mine, you choose yours.

First TLIF Mini Conference – August 2016

I really need to catch up on a few posts, but to cut a long back story short … we WON!! Our Teacher Led Innovation Fund was successful. We are working with the amazing Keryn Davis, we’ve got $102 000.00 to burn over two years, and an amazing team to work with.

I will do a bit of back blogging later – we can pretend future posts are literary flash backs – but today I’m super psyched to tell you about today.

We began the day with a quick welcome by me and an invitation for us all to introduce ourselves and to share our own back story. I explained that the way we are as a teacher is shared by our own worldview and values within ourselves.

While I had been engaged in my CORE MLC course I have gotten into a conversation with Mary Milne about Leadership change practice – and that as a leader seeking to change practice in our teachers we must be very careful because changing a teacher’s practice is very much changing that teacher’s values and their sense of self – about changing the person.

So in order for us to journey together with the TLIF (which is all about researching into our own practice and changing it for the better) we must understand each other’s motivation for becoming the teacher we are today. asked each teacher to share their earliest memories of their experiences as learners, in ECE, in Primary, and in Secondary, then explain how these experiences as learners shaped them as the teachers they are today.

The stories which came out of this process were beautiful and surprising and I believe brought us together so quickly in an open and honest way. Many connections were made, lovely stories told, and surprising observations made about the power adults have over young learners.  This process covered the whole morning block right up to morning tea – and at moments throughout the day we would find ourselves referring back and making connections with the stories told during this time.

Keryn’s Research Vocab Explaination

After a delicious morning tea – Keryn ran an amazing session unpacking what ‘Research’ actually meant. She ran a brilliant activity talking about and explaining the terms and vocabulary around research. Qualitative vs Quantitative research; Rigour; Bias etc.  Throughout this process we had to build three statements around our TLIF – “Risks and Limitations”; “How we are going to work together.”; and “Ethics”. I won’t go too much more into it, but I will say that we were all leaning over the table eager to learn what she was explaining – she did it so very well (here’s a photo).

Keryn then led us through an activity about the tensions which raise when Curiosity turns into Critical Thinking – she used Jelly Beans. It was both delicious and thought provoking.

Then finally we started to build our story of us, and our innovation journey – how we got where we are.  I loved this part because it really honoured Māori Methodology – the need to look at the past, understand and celebrate the past, to value the past because this is what has made us.

I have kind of skipped through most of the day, but I am very aware that I am now part of a public research project and I must be careful with how I publicly reflect. Today was wonderful and every piece feed and grew the next piece of the day – I can’t wait until tomorrow.

Also I have to work out a way to get the rest of my staff involved as soon as possible!! Peace out.

First Time Principals’ Programme Presentation

This is my presentation for the FTPP April Residential Course 2012.  Click here to reach the information website and below is the presentation Prezi.  I would love any feedback added to the comments below 🙂

Shifting Leadership to the 21st Century

A very short post, I should be in bed asleep not blogging.  Actually I should of done this earlier instead of watching the first season of Sherlock.  Best ever, now addicted.

So I last year, I managed to volunteer to be chairperson of my local New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) cluster.  Therefore, I now represent my cluster at the annual NZPF Moot.  Thankfully I quite enjoy this, despite what certain other principals in Auckland mutter about ‘fossils’, and met a whole bunch of very knowledgeable, interesting educational leaders.

Unfortunately, I have noticed, that about 95% of the leaders of our education leaders were completely missing the 21st Century boat :-/  In fact, I doubt most of them would understand that emoticon I just used … *

So I am on a mission, a Social Media mission, to shift the thinking of our educational leadership to the awesomeness of the 21st Century Waka!!!  Well after whole school camp that is …

I shall begin my campaign to ditch the eighties at the First Time Principals’ Programme Residential in Auckland (this holidays).  Unfortunately this means rejigging my entire presentation, but hey ho, it’s not like I need sleep ;-)*

*translation :-/ disappointed face

*translation ;-)* cheeky wink with a zit.

Good Advice from the Auditor-General

My buddy, the Auditor-General (not really my buddy, just exaggerating) sent out a “summary of a recent report that our Office has done on analysis of variance reports”.  This caught my eye as it mentioned school charters, and as you all know I have been having some discussion lately, with the MOE, about Charters …

Basically, the report has a lovely little check list for Boards and Principals to use when setting Strategic Goals and Annual Targets.  I won’t go into detail, as it is a really easy read – you can see the summary here.  Personally I like it and I will be using it as one of my resources while we develop our new Charter.  What I like the most about this little report is that it emphasizes the importance of “specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely” strategic goals.  And that, annual targets should relate strongly to these goals.

Therefore, I’m inferring that the Auditor-General would think it a good thing, for me to not rush the process of setting strategic goals.

So I’m not.

Ministry, Charters, Threats, Oh My!

Letters, Letters, Letters
Letters, Letters, Letters

So last year, at some time or another, I received an email (as did every other school in NZ) that explained that the MOE wanted our Charters in on the 31st of January, 2011.  I found this very odd, so I had a look on twitter where other, much more experience principals than I, said;  Nope don’t bother you don’t have to legally until the end of the year (Dec, 2011).

Fine I thought.  I am re-doing the Strategic Plan next year and it won’t be ready anyway … forgotten.

Then we got a ‘Pack‘ from the MOE, with a helpful guide for BOTs for writing a Charter using the National Standards, with another reminder about the 31st January date.  I though bollocks to that and chucked it out (not sure if I am going to get into trouble for that) as I thought if I really do need it, I am sure there is a copy on-line.

After that I got a few more reminders but then it was the end of the year, I went on a much needed holiday for two weeks came back after New Years and completely forgot about the whole thing, until I got another letter from the MOE.  This letter basically said, Don’t worry guys, we’re sweet, we’re hip, we’re cool, you can have until the end of February to send us your Charters.

Well that’s not going to happen, I thought.  I won’t of finished my Community Consultation by then, so that letter went on the bin.

Next I got emails from NZPF and NZEI asking if I had sent my charter in yet.  Of course I responded, Nope not on your Nelly!

Now for the life of me, I can’t remember where or when, but a couple of weeks after that, I got an email saying that only 3% of schools had complied with the MOE request to have the Charters in by the 31st Jan date.  And today, the NZEI said that from their survey only 2.8% had complied.  Phew, all good for me!

So back tracking a little bit, a few days after the NZPF and NZEI emails (I’m a bit hazy on the dates, but it was before the end of Feb), my area’s MOE minder rang and asked if she could visit my school.

Not a Road You Take By Mistake
Not a Road You Take By Mistake

I said sure, doors always open, don’t turn the wrong way or you will end up in Napier … but on that particular day I will be teaching.

She said, well not so good I need to sit down with you to talk about your Charter, so never mind maybe next time.

That’s fine and dandy by me, says I.

So I was kind of hoping that she had forgotten about me, but low and behold, Thursday morning last week I received another phone call.  Can I come out at lunch time next Tuesday? she asks.

Yep, most welcome, I reply, but I am on my own and you will need to talk to me while I am on lunch duty.

Mmmm Chuck Tailors
Mmmm Chuck Tailors

So the date was set, the meeting was imminent, which brings us back to today (of course I made sure I was dressed professionally – 3/4 jeans, a t-shirt and my favourite Chuck Tailors).

My kids greeted her (they are very good at that, so proud) and we sat down for our chat.

She proceeded to inquiry about my Charter, and was I aware that it was over due?

I replied, that I thought that it wasn’t actually due until the end of the year and it wouldn’t be ready until the 1st July, as I was in the middle of re doing the Strategic Plan.

She then explained, that no I was wrong, the ministry had changed things, and if I didn’t take action soon then we would be non-compliant and a letter would be sent to the BOT saying so.

This got me a little worried (I wouldn’t want to get my BOT in trouble), but I stuck to my guns and said that’s fine, but I am not going to rush this process, I want to do it right and won’t 90% of the schools be getting a non-compliance letter anyway?

She then said, Yes they will, but why don’t you just extend or review your last years strategic plan and then have the new one next year?

I said, No, the current plan is out of date and does not fit with the current group of children, the teachers, the families or me, I need to do this properly for my students sake, I don’t want to hang in limbo with a half done Charter, and no true direction for the school.  I want to do this right.

Then she said, (by the way we were both very polite the entire time), well the Minister is concerned and non compliance is not acceptable, and she is trying to work through this, but she may choose to “sack your whole board”. . .

Hmmm – WTF

So, being the calm person that I am, I changed the topic, offered her a cup of tea and moved us outside so I could watch the kids.  We chatted politely about how wonderful country kids are, and then she was on her way (and I didn’t accidentally send her to Napier, aren’t I nice?)

Of course, straight after school I rang the NZPF Helpline, and left my name and number.  Not ten minutes later Mr Peter Witana rang back, confirmed my suspicions that, No, legally I do not have to have my Charter in until the end of 2011 and there is no way they can fire the Board for this.

Have you noticed yet, the only part of this little tale that I have quoted directly?

I think I am a bit pissed about those words.

Attributes (Gratefully from):

Letters, Letters, Letters –

Not a Road You Take By Mistake –

Mmmm Chuck Tailors –

Self Review: The Guilt Post

I know…, you know …, we all known, that self-review is essential for good practice.  True self-review should be the combination of both formal and informal review tools.  These tools may include personal reflections, professional conversations, mentoring, professional appraisal, journals and learning circles.  Personally I enjoy engaging in self-review through reflecting and sharing my practice in a professional blog. My blog is where I engage in my own professional form of ‘just-in-time’ learning; it is here where my self-review with make an immediate impact on my practice. What I am having trouble with at the moment is wondering whether it is appropriate for me to engage in this medium during school time.

The Background:  I am the Principal of a Sole Charge Rural School.  This means that for 0.7 (three and a half days) of my week I am a normal classroom teacher, well as normal as you can get with eleven students, (grin) and for the other 0.3 (one and a half days) I am in the office doing management and leadership tasks.  I do not do any planning or classroom prep. during my 0.3 release, this is all done after the kids have left for the day or in the weekends (like any normal teacher).

The Requirements: As a part of my involvement with the First Time Principals Programme, and as specified in my job description, I am required to engage in self-review.  In fact, I have been advised by my mentor and my appraiser to keep a professional journal.  I would like to use this blog as my professional journal; I can easily keep any sensitive posts private or password protect them (save the trees!)

The Question: Is it appropriate for me to set aside time from my 0.3 release to reflect in my professional journal (this blog)?  Or should I be engaging in this reflection outside of school time, in my own time?

The Guilt: The reality is that I just haven’t done it at home because I am just so tired when I finally get there.  I would like to do it during my release time but I don’t know if this is ok?  Can I justify this as a good use of leadership and management time? Shouldn’t I be using my time for the benefit of the students learning?  But what about me, should I also be making sure that I am the best possible leader I can be? (and not burn out with the effort).

The Ideal: What I really want is to know that it’s ok for me to add regular self-review entries to this blog, which is all about my experiences as a 21st Century Learner and Educator, during my release time and not allow my professional life to invade my personal one.  I want to stop feeling guilty.

Up Here Where The Air Is Clear!

Breath in deep and taste that country air!

Up here at 600 metres above sea level you can see for miles, no wonder it has taken me so long to sit down and write a post!  I mean check out my view …

Though I guess I should admit to being a fairly slack blogger during the summer break (well in general really).  I am not actually a big fan of writing, I would much rather curl up and read a book, so I really must force myself to sit down write.  In fact the only real reason I do this at all is because I know I have an audience. An audience who is choosing to read my thoughts and opinions.  Maybe even gaining a bit of advice or a few new ideas from my natter about all things great and small in the world of eLearning.

Yep, I write this solely for a purpose, the purpose to connect with my ever patient and kind audience. This of course does make me wonder … do my students feel that there is a purpose behind what I ask them to write? Does ones teacher and class mates make an authentic audience?  And if I have answered ‘No’ to both question (which I have),  why am I making them do any writing at all? Hmmmm

This blog has helped me find a purpose and motivation for writing, it has given me an authentic audience.

If I give my students a blog, will they also find theirs?

I must say, all this oxygen deprivation is making my head spin!

A Maths Lesson for Mrs Tolley

“…almost one in five students are leaving school without the basic literacy and numeracy skills that they need.”

Wow, that’s pretty fantastic!  That means that over 80% of all New Zealand School children are leaving school with the basic literacy and numeracy skills that they need!

Of the 20% who are not achieving at the expected level for their age group, I will safely estimate that a quarter of them are  special needs or have been identified as having learning difficulties.  So we could probably bump that 80% closer to 90%.

Let’s put this into a real classroom, my classroom.

Fractions, Proportions and Ratios Stages 5-6:

I have 30 students – Year 3 and 4 (7, 8 and 9 years old).

(Well actually I have 28, but we will use 30 as a nice round number, I don’t want to make this to hard for you Mrs Tolley, I know that you are too busy to speak to or listen to us) (Also 30 is closer to the average class size in little old NZ).

1 out of 5 of them is below expected age levels in literacy and numeracy.

30 divided by 5 equals 6.

6 students are below – yep that’s my lowest reading group.

Of those six almost two of them have been identified as having learning difficulties.

(Luckily for me almost all of my students come to school after having a good nights sleep, breakfast, are well dressed for the weather and have a good healthy lunch in their bag).

Which means 4 of them are below.  So that’s 4 out of thirty? (correct me if I am wrong Mrs Tolley).

Yep I knew that!

That’s why I differentiate my teaching.  That’s why I get them as much extra help as possible from the funding that’s available to my school.  That’s why I have spoken to their parents and have given them strategies to help their children.

If the government wanted to know this, all they had to do was ask.

Hey! Brain Wave!

Instead of wasting millions of dollars on reprinting existing resources and renaming them as National Standards.  Why don’t you use that money to reduce my class size to 22 so that I can spend more time with my struggling students.

Makes sense to me …