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


  1. I feel your anguish and annoyance, Leigh. As a teacher who has 'survived' a few CAPNA over the years they are destructive to good teaching. Pile on top ERO and the requirements of a Statutory Manager and the stress on teachers, including your self, ramps up. As you point out, getting students ready for external exams is the work requirement at present. It is my view that 'managers' especially statuary ones should be working day and night to lower the stress so that teachers can do their work. Best of luck, Leigh.

  2. I appreciate your comment, Barry. Its pretty tricky when I have three NCEA classes and the job as manager (deputy principal).