Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Novopay, pain and beyond.

After the most wonderful non PC day at school yesterday, lolly scrambles and water fights!(Thanks Spud for the loan of the fire engine)I ventured to school to assist Tanya with the Start of Year staffing pay organisation. We arrived at 8.30am to let the builders in and then started. We have had no staff changes, nothing at all. Its all the same, its the same people so it shouldn't be an issue, eh. So why then 2 hours later we gave up. We had been on the help line and actually got through to a real person. After 30 minutes of her explaining the bloody obvious to us that we had already tried, she, the help line lady, decided it was an IT issue and our problem would be logged and they would ring us back later on during the week. We then established, with the lovely help line lady, that we were on holiday and email may be the better option.It took a wee while for that one to sink in. I can only hope that we receive some help before the start of the year as it will take a great deal of time to set up the simple, extremely simple, online process to get our staff paid.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No S$%t Sherlock

When stating the obvious a friend of mine uses the the saying in the title, so when I read this headline in the paper I had the same reaction. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/schools/8059539/Pupil-teacher-relationship-critical" REALLY. What in depth researcher, hidden away for years and paid copious amounts of money decided that wee gem. Well done ERO, in the Mastermind category of stating the bleeding obvious you take out first prize!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


What is experience? In this case it is knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed? Is it always age related? The older we are the more experienced we are perhaps. Not so much!!! What if after all this time and all these experiences you are still doing the same things that have lead you down the wrong path time and time again. THis means you have experienced what you should do but are not experienced enough to change your ways to make you a better teacher, leader or human being.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I sat in a meeting last week an watched as colleagues were advised they were to relocate merge or close their schools. I learned new educational terms, consolidate and rejuvenate! These words were placed beside schools that are to close?? How is that you can rejuvenate something that is closing? The word rejuvenate means to restore to a former state; make fresh or new again: to rejuvenate an old sofa. How the hell can you close a school and call it rejuvenation? Big brother, I know you will be reading this as you tend to check up on principals, so can you add a comment and explain to me how these weasel words explain to communities and families that what you are doing is good for education. Oh and by the way, where exactly was the consultation?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I was involved in a conversation recently that described true teaching as a craft. We are not a production line designed to stamp out hundreds of clones who think act and feel the same. To be a good craftsman you have to know your craft. You must read the latest techniques. You must invest in you craft. Time and resources. Good teachers don't start and stop when the children arrive and leave school. They continue the development outside the work environment. A great craftsman knows all about the items they are working on. They know the tools and how they will enhance the finished product. Do you?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Blow to Education.

It's happened again! We wonder why males don't get involved in teaching and now one low life has probably taken away the career path for some good future male teachers. Why didn't the school act? They were warned by the police! Good Male teachers don't need this.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What a Day!!!

I'd like to thank Israel! No not the country but the young 5 year old from room 6 who brought me his writing today. He made it all worthwhile. Without even trying he made me realise what my job is all about. IF you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: He came to me with his writing. He shared the joy of jumping in puddles on a wet day, and playing Shark tag. When an adult had lost the plot and lowered the tone of an educational environment this young man was a beacon of hope. If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: I don't go to work to be abused or accused or in a poor weak attempt, physically intimidated. I go to look for that beacon, that ray of light that children have. If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!' The cynicism of teachers who believe children don't try or parents who believe you are not working for their kids, can get you down.The constant whispering and back stabbing. All the playground advice that never comes to your face! Thanks Israel, cos of you I will continue to look for these days these gold nuggets that make you remember why you took up this job! If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son! (Thanks Mr Kipling u rock!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Joe Bennett on measuring teachers.

I liked this had to copy it and blog it. Good teaching, then, is easy to recognise. But it is hard to measure. Exam results are important, but they are not the whole of education. And if you judged a teacher solely by exam results, then they would teach solely to the exams. Which would squeeze out the good stuff, the real stuff, the stuff that just happens. And that's often the stuff that sings home like a well-fired arrow. What will happen, I suspect, is that the mandarins of education will try to do to teaching what they have already done to learning. With the NCEA, they reduced a subject like English to thousands of discrete bits of knowledge, or skills, that they could then assess one by one. But that's not how English works. The NCEA brings down the net but misses the butterfly. And it will be the same with teaching. They will spend vast sums of money coming up with boxes to be ticked, boxes called Key Performance Indicators or some similar consultant jargon, in a bid to define good teaching. And although any kid in the school will tell you instantly who the good teachers are, the Ministry of Education won't manage it. The simple butterfly of human truth will elude them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giving for the sake of Giving!

We live in a world where giving has become a bit of a dying art. We seem to be breeding a group that is focused on only giving when I get something out of this. Why? The art of giving has become confused wrapped up in strange new traditions. For example when I go to a birthday party at my age I don't expect to go home with a goody bag of treats I will enjoy. We have families now who create goody bags for kids who attend their child's parties. Isn't the invite and the food and and the games and the fun enough. Does it have to become a competition of who supplies the greatest goody bag gifts? Recently I heard a group of parents discussing wether or not they would donate to a school fund raiser. Surely this is the ultimate place to give because in the long run your children win. It can be donations of money gifts or time. This way everybody wins. Unfortunately we have an element now where there is a need to be thanked publicly, i don't disagree but when heard to say we weren't thanked enough is this just grandstanding. There are families who give to this school everyday. The help goes unnoticed and unheralded because to them its the giving that counts, not the fact that there name, company was splashed across the headlines and roared forth from a public address system. Sad!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Inspired by Tarnz!

So sitting in my office Tanya asked how long had it been since I blogged a while I said, actually 26 April.I have taken to writing about children pushing themselves with recent cross country events. It has become apparent that we are very nice to our children. We have encouraged them to give things a go but when the pressure comes on or it starts to hurt give up. Yep, to me it seems that we have become so protective of our children that we get them to opt out when the going gets tough. Why do we do this? Success comes with struggle and often with pain and suffering so why don't we teach our kids this? Speaking of Pain and Suffering last year I completed the Lake Wanaka Half Iron race. I say say completed not competed because I was disappointed in my efforts.I didn't draw a lot of comfort from being "chicked" by my training buddy but more for me it was I believed I could have done better. I felt I could have done it better trained harder maybe smarter! So what do I do now, well i am going back and I need to be smarter so I have taken on board a mentor who has experienced the darkest recesses of pain when she ran 160 kilometres in 38 hours. It has to be a complete rethink, not only training but nutrition, recovery, core strength, mental strength and flexibility. Can I do it better? I think so so no excuses time to start!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


After a refreshing break from school, a 700km cycle race,it has been a hard start back. This term we are reporting against National Standards for children who have been at school 12,24 or 36 months. THis will be the schools interpretation of National standards. All schools have to do the same. That is interpret how National Standards look and tell the families if their child is Well Below, Below ,At or Above these standards. I have asked my staff to report the progress as well. Has the child moved along an academic continuum. There are opportunities for growth even if a child is Below or well below or at or even above the National Standard. Surely parents want to hear this as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A week for Reflection.

What a week!
Visited a Kindy,Fun!!
I just forgot how much fun these places are with all the equipments and reasons for playing.The conversations these children have are wonderful, some of them have the negotiation skills of a UN peacekeeper.
I really enjoyed visiting with Gill our New Entrant teacher who has a handle on how these wee ones operate.To me they all seem like Rubiks Cube but Gill knows just what they want and what they need. Its a special skill to be a Junior teacher. I don't have the knees for it any more.

Remembering this week what happened 12 months ago was marked by a ceremonial tree planting.Losing a former pupil in the CTV building gave our school a direct link but there was more. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. Staff, parents, all have links or been directly affected themselves. It makes it all very personal.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meet the Teacher. 33.3

I find it interesting how parents go to meet the teacher and talk about their children! Well thats what its about I can hear you say,! Well these parents chose to talk about their child who is now at high school. Yes and to make it worse, the teacher, they were pouring their hearts out too, stating how their child was never challenged, has never taught their child.
To me this was a blatant case of Grandstanding!!
These parents chose to hijack this meeting to air their grievances.
Why didn't the other parents who had given up their evening to be there speak up. It was a chance to hear how the class programme would run for the year, what a waste of parents and teachers valuable time.

Meet the teacher.

Thank you to the families who turned out last night. Disappointing though the numbers who did show up. I would like to know ,if anyone wants to comment, why the numbers were so poor.
If there is anything I can to do to get more families along I would appreciate it. If the parents can meet with their teacher and hear how the programme is going to run for the year then it cuts out all the guess work.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meet the Teacher.

Well here we go again, into another year at Ashley. Welcome to all the new families who have started their learning journey with us this year. We have started the year down on last years numbers and this has reduced the teacher pupil ratio right across the school. This does take a way some of the pressure that was in some classes, although according to New Zealand's treasury Department Class size is not an issue when it comes to teaching!! Get as many into a classroom as possible. Scary stuff!!

About Me

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Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand
I have been Principal of Ashley School since 2002 and I am still learning my job.I am married with 3 children. I have a love of educating children to the best of their potential. I enjoy Rowan Atkinson, Ricky Gervais, cycling and all other sports.