Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Whoa! I feel nice, like sugar and spice. I feel nice, like sugar and spice So nice, so nice (James Brown)

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important and you do that by being genuine and humble.

Nelson Mandala

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult (Warren Bennis)

Thinking of my wonderful colleagues at OneSchool Global New Zealand and specifically those in the Hastings and Gisborne campuses today - hope you are all enjoying a terrific family time!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The purpose of education

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The engineer, Richard Hamming, on the purpose of education:

"Teachers should prepare the student for the student's future, not for the teacher's past."

Source: The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Even in our deepest, most lasting friendships, we never speak as openly as when we face a blank page and address a reader we do not know (Michel Houellebecq)

Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Like literature, music can overwhelm you with sudden emotion, can move you to absolute sorrow or ecstacy; like literature, painting has the power to astonish, and to make you see the world through fresh eyes. But only literature can put you in touch with another human spirit, as a whole, with all its weaknesses and grandeurs, its limitations, its pettinesses, its obsessions, its beliefs; with whatever it finds moving, interesting, exciting or repugnant.

Michel Houellebecq (in Submission)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Will I feel it? (Sarah Mary Chadwick)

If you are in the southern hemisphere, our summer holidays are underway from today. Traditionally at this time of the year I keep Baggy Trousers ticking over with quotes relating to education, learning and teaching.  

Some old favourites may be making an appearance (see if you can spot them).

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The future's in the air, can feel it everywhere, blowing with the wind of change (Scorpions)

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash




  1. the act or result of something becoming different 
  2. replacing something

  3. the process of replacing something with something new or different 

One of the standing truisms around my school is that change is the only constant and, therefore, you need to be adaptable, receptive to change, to work here.

Change is messy. That's why reams (zigabits) have been written about it. Books, careers, doctorate theses - you name it - all devoted to the process and advice given to adjust or else get left behind (Dr Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese is a famous take on it that I especially enjoy reading from time to time - Move with the cheese!)

One of the key principles of the All Blacks' philosophy is - when at the top of your game, change your game.

Like I said, it can be a messy process. They find that out from time to time by losing a game (most recently to Argentina for the first time, so they changed/adapted and beat them 38 nil a week later).

Sometimes change in education feels glacial (it's a bit oil tanker-ish after all). At other times, mysteriously fast. Sometimes it's managed well, at other times - not so well.

One of the best pieces of advice I've come across when change isn't managed well (outside of Who Moved My Cheese):
 'The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.' (Steve Maraboli).

Handling change the way Donald Trump is currently doing is only leading to pain for him and others.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, when push comes to shove, I agree with Ginni Rometty who says, 'Growth and comfort do not coexist.' 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie? (Dionne Warwick)

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

As we conclude one cycle of teacher inquiries and embark on the next, it's a good time to take stock and re-establish the purpose of teacher enquiries.

What are they and why do them?

The Best Evidence Synthesis snazzily says that 'Teacher inquiry should be based on your students' learning needs, your own learning needs, and the impact of your practice on student learning and achievement'.

For me, that means finding an area that I am passionate about understanding and improving. It has to be worthwhile to me because it will likely last a year of careful reflection.

My next inquiry will focus on the motivations that drive my students to succeed in NCEA internal Achievement Standards and externals. 

I believe that the motivations are complex, and that there is a real imbalance and I want to investigate that for 2021.

As per my last teacher inquiry, you'll be reading about my progress in this blog from time to time.