Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The journey home

On a sunny day, there is no more beautiful place on earth than the central volcanic plateau around Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro.

I drove home to Taupo on Friday night, and it was such a day. I always feel a nostalgic sentimentality as I drive past these beautiful mountains. From the other side, the view out my office window is just as stunning.

so i am not sure if i want to be here or the other side. This is a very metaphorical reflection.
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Location:Boundary Road,Waipahihi,New Zealand

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Losing your job

CAPNA is not a word that a lot of people will know.  It is what happens when you have too many teachers at a school.  Christchurch teachers know what it is like, as students fled northward to escape the shakes, and many other teachers throughout the country, where falling rolls determine their fate.  Basically, it is a process to work out which teacher is going to be made redundant at your school.  We don't often hear about teachers being made redundant.  Its not that it doesn't happen, it is just that it happens without media hype.  After all teachers are a bad lot anyway aren't they?  All those holidays...ppppfffttt....lazy buggars!
CAPNA would be a great chance to get rid of some of those rotten teachers.
So I just want to tell you a bit about a CAPNA.  It stands for curriculum and pastoral needs analysis.  Senior managers have to look at a lot of data and then find the teacher who is "needed the least" in terms of subject demand and how many students they work with.  And then we have the unpleasant job of informing someone that they are no longer needed, go, get, kaput, its over for you, go find another life somewhere else!
In a larger secondary school it may be slightly easier, you have five or six or more teachers in one department.  In a small school you have usually one teacher, one department.  So you probably get rid of a department that someone has put their life into.   Or someone who has moved to the country, built a house , made friends, forged a place in the community.  And they are part of your community, you know them well, you know their kids, you know their life, you know their strengths and their illnesses, you know how the loss will shatter their world and self belief, if not permanently, then at least for a year or two of their life.
So at the moment, in my school we are going through a CAPNA.
 Also, ERO are coming in 10 days.  You know the people who sift through the details of your school's life, checking for what you have done, or not done, over the past three years.  They will write up a report based on their snapshot of what they see, which is also based on the data and reports you write up for them. So, yes, it is a lot of extra work.  They tell you that it isn't, but it is.  You know your school more intimately than they ever will, but they write their report and the world judges you on the report they write.  So you have to get all the evidence and data you possibly can that will portray the school that you know.
Oh, and ERO are coming into the school the week before our seniors leave to go and sit their exams.  You know, the time when we are wrapping up all the lessons, trying to fill the gaps that students have in their learning, and prepare them for the snapshots that will shape their futures.  The time that we run around like crazy trying to make sure every student has the resources they need to be able to pass.
At the same time we are also preparing for prize-giving, gathering information from every teacher on who is first, second or deserves a mention in the prize-giving, sports awards, cultural awards, speech awards,special awards and also who is dux and who is runner up.  A big job in any year.
Added to that the fact that we have an LSM (limited statutory manager)  in the school which is a person taking over some of the role of the Board of Trustees.  He wants to know every in and out of the running of the school.   Some people call it a witch hunt. Along with all that, I have to put together a timetable for 2013.
This Labour Weekend, I won't have time to drive one and a half hours to my fathers 88th birthday dinner and back home again.  But guess what, I am going to.  And one happy thought.... maybe I will be the teacher who is CAPNA'ed.  I will have a lot less to do then.

Location:Wembley Place,Richmond Heights,New Zealand

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The real story

In my job I often find myself listening to different accounts of the same incident. It is interesting how much this can vary, even when the individuals are convinced that their version is the correct one.
I have come to the realization that this is true for nearly every facet of life. The truth is really only something that a number of people agree on and this can still be very subjective.
Take a good look at yourself and think about how many judgements you have made based on your idea of the truth. Scary isn't it?

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Broadband charges

Reading the Herald on my iPad this morning. Seems like broadband charges are cheaper and cheaper. The article quotes unlimited data through Orcon with your home phone is $99 while Vodaphone has 80 gig for home phone at $120 and Telecom lagging behind of course but my plan is about 40 gig for about the same price. On my reckoning that's about one dollar per gig if you take the phone out of the equation. So WHY ARE THE CHARGES equivalent to $150 per gig at motels and hotels in New Zealand? Someone is very greedy - that is why.

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Location:Wembley Place,Richmond Heights,New Zealand

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Hotel internet

I am not the only one bemoaning the high price of hotel internet...... Brendan Ritchie has this to say on the matter.
Also, Zenbu urges hotels and motels to set up wireless for just $249 in  this article .  What are the ISP (providers) rates?  I cannot believe they are what hotels are charging plus a small profit.  Can anyone enlighten me?
This article from 100% Pure New Zealand has some good information and advice for travellers.But really,...the answer lies with the hotels and motels.
Come on New Zealand hotels and motels, it is 2012 not 2001.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Internet charges.....continued


So I am now at the lovely Sofitel Hotel in downtown Auckland. It is very befitting my style haha.

Silence from the busy streets outside fully soundproofed and lovely.

And now I have to work that means Internet again. So onto the wireless. Ah here are my options- whaaaaaaaat two hours for $15? Or to a maximum of 100MB? Or $30 for a day to a maximum of O forget but abysmally low number of MB? Oh what a choice!
In NZ it is colloquially known as Hobson's Choice. I check this term. But its not the Hobson I know
Mr Robinson, my old primary school teacher said it related to. Governor Hobson, NZs first, who did not want to be sent to NZ but apparently Mr Robinson was wrong.
However, my sweet room service man gave me a special code to get 3 hours free Internet to a max of 50 mb.

Oh dear, so much for practicing my YouTube editing that I learned today. 50mb is not going to cut it.
So thank you Sofitel for the excellent service but really.... Another reflection of the poor low value Internet access in NZ hotels. But a lovely bed!

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Location:Gaunt Street,Auckland Central,New Zealand

Google apps in education Summit

I don't know whether to feel overwhelmed by too much information on one day or heartened that I have a handle on much of what is going on. Much of this is stuff I know about but just don't have time to play with. I guess you have to make a decision on whether to keep learning a lot or specialise in one area. It is heartening to see so many teachers in NZ who are making the move to blended learning. Maybe I will play more with videos tonight.

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Location:Albany Highway,Albany,New Zealand

Monday, 8 October 2012

Internet access

I am about to attend a conference in Auckland on using Google apps in education.  That is pretty exciting!  But enough of the exciting stuff.  Now down to the mundane, actually the downright annoying crappiest part of travelling in New Zealand.  I am staying at a serviced apartment nearby to the conference venue.  I have stayed here before and it is very pleasant.  This time I booked  online and checked yes for internet.  For $15 per night extra.
After travelling through the USA over the last six weeks, it was a bit of a shock to have to pay for it again...but ...this is New Zealand and ..... I guess we will catch up with the rest of the world one day....for $15 I should get pretty good broadband, huh?  WRONG!  My access voucher, supplied in the envelope when I signed in gives me 160MB of data.  160?????? What planet do these people live on?  Who uses 160 MB these days, that's like saying a meal will be provided and then giving you half a salt cracker.
Can someone please tell much do motel owners pay for internet?  Am I being unreasonable to expect a decent rate for internet charges when I go travelling in New Zealand?