Friday, January 29, 2010
What About All The Holidays Those Teachers Get?
Nine of our teaching staff spent three days together in Hanmer during the Christmas vacation this year. I thought it would be a challenge for 9 very different people to learn, eat and live together, especially for me as I get a bit homesick and I like my home!
We had a blast: so much laughter, mucking in, sharing and support. I learnt a good lesson for next time: to check out the house first and then to claim the biggest bedroom with the ensuite for myself in the name of The Principal. The sad thing is I allocated all of the bedrooms. It sure is an egalitarian system!
We had some great topics to get our teeth into including: restorative practice; learning intentions and success critreia to focus teaching and student achievement; national standards and the qualities that earmark a teacher as a quality teacher who provides meaningful, quality feedback to his/her students. Last year three of us in the leadership team trained as facilitators in Restorative Practice and we want to make it part of our school wide philosophy and practice.
As ever I am astounded by the professional ability of our teachers as they all had responsibility to prepare and present an aspect of the learning and the standard was incredible. It is a little humbling as I am supposed to be the expert leader and I am surrounded by teachers who constantly raise the bar.
Our Board of Trustees has a little motto " HIGH EXPECTATIONS; HIGH LEVELS OF SUPPORT."
In reality that means that they see the professional learning and development of the West Spreydon Staff as a major focus in the annual budget.
Last year Donna and I attended Learning@School in Rotorua; four teachers attended Ulearn in Christchurch (Donna was a presenter at both); Maata and Suzanne went to the School Leaders Conference in Timaru;I went to several CPPA NZPF conferences and seminars (Suzanne and Maata came to some too. We all ( including part time teachers and teacher assistants) retrained in phonics; some updated or trained in Numeracy, national standards, leadership and school development. Every teacher and one board member has had four days visiting high performance, innovative schools in the North Island on the eTime bus tour.
In 2009 we completed our three year ICT contract through eTime and are well into redesigning our school curriculum.
Our board has also had several training days/nights with the staff and eTime, and with NZSTA.
Some talk; we do it. In fact when I look back we have had phenomenal exposure to quality learning that has changed the life of our school and the ways in which we govern and teach.