Teach­ers’ choice

The Northern Advocate - - Opinion -

An open l et­ter to pri­mary teach­ers:

I hear and un­der­stand what you’re say­ing. I’ve been there, I’ve gone on strike, I’ve marched in the streets. Look at the ar­chives — and look at the out­comes. Grad­u­ally, in­cre­men­tally, things have im­proved but it’s al­ways been a bal­anc­ing act.

I re­call a par­ticul arly vo­cif­er­ous NZEI meet­ing where some­one stood up and said we should move a vote of no con­fi­dence in the govern­ment. Trem­bling at the knees, I got to my feet and said that the time to move a vote of no con­fi­dence was at the gen­eral elec­tion. I say it again now. If you’re not happy with what this govern­ment is of­fer­ing teach­ers and what it’s do­ing to ad­dress the chal­lenges it’s in­her­ited, in two years you can vote for rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other hues. Try as I might, I can’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to say, “Good luck with that”.

Th­ese days, we pro­mote “Learner Agency”. We want our learn­ers to have voice, choice and own­er­ship. This ap­plies equally to teach­ers. For ex­am­ple, there are se­ri­ous con­cerns about the range of com­plex needs teach­ers have in front of them ev­ery day. There al­ways were, though pro­por­tion­ally, they seem greater. In part, this re­lates to the fact that con­di­tions such as foetal al­co­hol

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