Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The secret of your success is found in your daily routine (John Maxwell)

My communication to parents and my school community includes a bespoke column in our weekly newsletter. Here are edited highlights from my first two:

First days are special days. We remember them forever.

I thought about some of my first days as I welcomed the new Year 3 class to Westmount’s Kaipara campus. I told them that we had something exciting in common – it was our first day at a great school!

I certainly remember my first day at Royal Oak Primary School in October 1962. Luckily, I was immediately befriended by another new boy and the staff helped me adjust to the challenging new world of formal education. Lo and behold, here I am in 2017 – still in formal education!

I hope all of the new students joining our campus also had a memorable introduction to their educational career. I will be watching their progress with huge interest over the next eleven years.

Thankfully a large number of people have also made me feel welcome leading to my first day. The staff, parents, students, Campus Administrator team, Phil Muir and other Westmount staff, have all embraced change and welcomed me and the other new staff to the school.

A little bit about me: I have come to Maungaturoto from Hawke’s Bay, where I was teaching at Woodford House. My wife, Jacky, and I have bought a lovely property just out of Maungaturoto and we are settling in nicely to our new environment. Our four adult children live in San Francisco, Melbourne, Auckland and Palmerston North.

My Twitter account describes me as a ‘less is more, Occam's razor guy, a tea drinker, lead learner, blogger, musicologist, and Arsenal F.C. fan’. As an English teacher, I love writing, hence the daily blogging and I love many types of music.

My education philosophy dovetails with our campus vision – our school will be a creative and vibrant environment where everyone is valued and students are empowered to reach their full potential.

Our campus administrators have set some challenging and appropriate goals for staff, students and the school as a whole which I encourage you to read elsewhere in this publication.

I am relishing the opportunity to lead an exceptional group of staff, both teachers and support staff, to realise these goals in 2017.

From a young age, I learnt that routines have their place. My father, Graham Purdy, was a past master at establishing and keeping to a number of routines. Although he was a pharmacist, he would have made a great teacher.

Along with the other new staff, I am starting to gain greater insights into the Westmount Kaipara campus routines. No doubt, adjusting to hearing bells again, my last school did not operate on bell reminders, and learning the Westmount ways will take me a little time.

The safe daily arrival and departure of our 17 vans is an important routine for students and parents. After watching the daily procedure last week, it became clear to me that some improvements were required to give us a safer and speedier exit from the school at 3 o’clock.

I discussed the problem with a variety of staff and students and Wylie Smith came up with a simple solution. As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter – Occam’s razor which holds that the simplest solution is usually the best, is a valuable motto to adopt.

Okay it won't win a Pulitzer prize but it's another good vehicle for self reflection and communication to the community. Just saying!

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