Sunday, 31 January 2016

Challenges for Teachers in 2016

As the new year looms for teachers in New Zealand, I wonder about the challenges that face them. There will be new learning and I am not just talking about the new learning of the students, but learning for themselves, more about learning ways to improve their practice.  There will be new ways of working (systemic changes) that their leaders will want to implement and that includes moving towards changes that the minister wants to make.

I have thought about some challenges that I have for teachers.  Before you start the new year, ask yourself these questions.

  • What is the purpose of what you are doing? Ask this of yourself in an general sense and then also each day.
  • What do you want your students to learn?
  • Have you asked your learners and their families what they would like?  
  • What changes will you make to your practice knowing the students you have in front of you?
  • Will changes that you make improve the learning for your students?
  • How will you know they improve the learning for your students?
Now ask yourself if your leaders have made the answers to those questions clear to you.  If they have not, go and see them and ask them the same questions.  Only a foolish leader would deny you the opportunity for that discussion.

Most leaders want the same things for the learners that you do.  The perception sometimes seems to be that you are on different pages but sometimes it is just a conversation that needs to be had to clarify the reality.

Don't go down the track of "them" and "us".  You are all in this job together and the time to try your hardest to make it work is NOW.

My last piece of advice today is to not listen to rumours or ill advice.  How do you find out the difference between good and ill advice?  Check and check again.  I have seen so many instances of teachers telling other teachers what they genuinely think is right, but in fact is quite the reverse.
And yes, go ahead, check out my advice!

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