Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw - a hundred billion bottles (The Police)

Back in the day (1973)...

...er...and now (2019)

It's examination time.

As I did a recent exam invigilation I thought about what had changed since my days of sitting school exams.

  • Pens writing on exam papers? check
  • Times written on a board? tick
  • Rows of desks? you bet
  • Quiet students? check

As I did this mental tick box, I realised that only one thing had changed.


Every student had a water bottle on their desk from which they took a slurp every so often.


Apart from that though...

The tragedy of the last hundred or so years of education in NZ has been THAT NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

It's crazy. Crazy, I tell you!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Follow your bliss and don't be afraid (Joseph Campbell)

Photo by Filip Kominik on Unsplash
Follow your bliss. 

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. 

Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.

Joseph Campbell

Monday, August 12, 2019

Simply the best (Tina Turner)

Photo by Yannis A on Unsplash
Apparently, teaching is the best job in the world (it's official).

Here's why, according to Paul Moss in an article in Teachthought:

1. The potential to transform lives - we never know, really, the effect we have, but the ripples reach out into infinity and beyond!

2. It gives you the chance to be continuously creative - creativity is celebrated and we have some wonderfully creative staff and students at my two campuses. As an English teacher I join in and write poems, stories, read, watch films, discuss motivations and meanings and on and on.

3. It offers you a chance to continuously get better - in a lot of jobs the learning slows or even ceases after a while - you get good at the widgets, but teaching is all about steep slope continuous improvement. At least it is in my experience. It's a work in progress, always.

4. It is a grounding, humbling profession - every day is 'Start Again' in the teaching world! My students, and staff certainly ground me. I still remember my first Teacher/Parent meeting  at New Plymouth Boys' High back in 1983 and the huge sense of responsibility that suddenly dawned on me - I was responsible for their son's learning in English. That's big!!

5. There is always satisfaction somewhere - it comes in funny ways, often when you least expect it! My intrinsic motivation is to serve, in my own small way, and as Joseph Campbell says, "Through sacrifice - bliss".

6. It’s a chance to truly lead the world in the 21st century - all of those bright minds thirsting for a way forward in their learning. Magic!

7. The children - being around youngsters (especially teenagers) on a daily basis is a joy that I truly love. I love going to work. Keeps me young at heart!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Words, words between the lines of age (Neil Young)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Seth Godin recently lamented the idea that silo subjects in the U.S. seem to exist independently of skills that he considers important. 

He poses the question: 

What would happen if we taught each skill separately? 

I thought about this for a week or so and wrote a reply to his blog:

Thought you may be interested to know that the NZ curriculum is based on five key competencies (skills) that are similar to 6 of your list. Obedience is not something that has a place in our curriculum. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) process in your country championed by Katie Novak does a lot of what you ask. Anyway - here are those 5 key competencies:  

  • thinking.
  • using language, symbols, and texts.
  • managing self.
  • relating to others.
  • participating and contributing.

Those skills aren't addressed/taught separately but are incorporated into teaching programmes (please forgive the English spelling).

Not to say we've made much progress on multi-disciplinary approaches but that's next!


Seth's a great guy. Of course he wrote back! Saying: This is great, thank you!  

No, thank you, Seth!