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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bloody Wednesday (Again)

Hallelujah, it's bloody Wednesday again.  Professional Learning looms once more.

For the uninitiated, it's that time, for an hour on Wednesday morning (08:15 - 09:25) when all we highly dedicated teaching professionals of Nuova Lazio High (aka Stalg Luft Hütte III) sit down in the staffroom and are taught (again) how to be better teachers.

Ve Haf vays of Making You Teach
Everybody needs to keep their skills up-to-date, and there is no real objection to this, but rather than sitting down for a convivial chat over our different approaches and techniques, we're huddled together enmasse and lectured as to our failings.

The thrust for the year (almost the entire bloody decade) is Māori Achievement, how bad it is, why it's our bloody fault, and how we can rectify and improve their educational attainments.

We're told to approach the Māori kids using a strong inter-personal approach, use familiar terms and texts in our teaching and do our best to get the kids to work.


I never thought of that.
We're ALL different dammit

Surprisingly, I've always used this type of approach with all of my students.  It's what can make teaching so rewarding, trying different approaches and pedagogies (God!  I so hate that word), building up relations with the kids, having some fun and learning, learning, learning.

So when some "First Citizen" academic apologist tells us it's all our fault, I really feel like giving them the big F*CK OFF, and would like to respond by telling them it's not the school, nor the teachers, nor the educational system, but an ingrained disregard for education in many strands of our citizens (definitely not all Māori)

Over the last 7½ years, my best and worst students have come from all cultures.

I try to teach with little or no regard for a student's ethnicity (apart from some familiar texts and concepts), but teach according to the student's abilities, approach, attitude, work ethic and character.

Oh well.

Only 6½ years to go.

I just hope my heart, mind (and sense of humour) survives.

Keep smiling


  1. I'm with you TSB. My best Y11 student and my best Y12 student are both Maori and lovely kids. I call the Y11 guy Myre the Tyre and he responds by calling me Richard Prouse Park (a well known park in Nuova Lazio). Probably not very PC in these sensitive times. He just loves playing music, and his positive attitude seems to mean that he's getting bloody good at it.

  2. you'll probably find that the most disfunctional students come from disfunctional, criminal or addicted families and it's got bugger all to do with teaching practice, but being caused by a lack of nurture in the home.

    Feel sorry for both you and RBB on this one.

    What a crock of sh1t!

  3. Totally agree with you allon this one. I have seen it too with several of my students last year when I taught in an alternative education unit that was annexed to a local high school for local teen mums and their wee ones. If it were'nt for units like this, trying to offer support,connection to welfare agencies, guidance and health support etc and allowing the girls to continue gaining their NCEA and giving their kids a head start being in an ECE next door to the unit, they would become another lost generation of welfare mums, some third generation. It was a humbling experience working there for one year, and has made me a better teacher. Yes we teachers have to be unrecognised Social Workers too. My top student last year in my subject was a girl of Maori descent and I was so proud of her for her achievement against the odds. She was lucky to have a loving parents still supporting her. So many don't. Yesterday I had to teach an awful Year 10 class. Danny was playing up more than usual. Yelling at the top of his head and chanting hakas. I had to remove him. First time I have done that in years to a student. He was out of control. This is not how I had seen him behave before. I had always managed to settle this challenging student down, often all he needed was some one on one attention with his work. Not yesterday. I began to despair and wonder, what had this boy had for breakfast? If at all or was that empty can of Mother down the back of the room his and had it contained soemthing a bit more uplifting to give him extra zing and bounce? What we deal with everyday in the classroom is scary. What some of these kids have been exposed to at home, I dread to think and wonder when they ask me "Miss have you ever tried P?". It would be easy to think they are having you on, but then again you never know do you?

  4. Richard[of RBB]:It's good when the kids bring out their best. Mind you, I thought this mornings seesion wasn't too bad. As long as the powers that be don't actually read the rather derogatory cooments I put in the envelopes. Little things, like "F*ck pedagogy" "I can't spell" and even "I hate anyone who doesn't look like me"

    Alistair:Yep, Everyone else blames the teachers, we blame the families.

    VG: Wow, I ssem to have touched some sort of nerve. If any kid asks me if i've tried P.I'd give them a straight nswer.. "no son, I much prefer whisky..... it only screws with your liver, not your brain"

  5. When you posted this is was still Tuesday in Virginia. Now it's 06:56 on Wednesday, and you've probably made it to Thursday.

    It's wrong to put the full burden of underachieving students onto teachers. I believe that a good teacher can have a lasting impact on a kid who might otherwise not succeed, but experts who blame teachers need to take a holistic view of students who don't succeed, and consider their parents, their home life, the stress they're under, their nutrition and healthcare, not just what happens in the classroom.

  6. I wonder when that trainer last did a year in a dog rough school somewhere. (My bet: never).

  7. Kids needs to read the bible. All the answers are in there.

  8. You should become fishers of men.

  9. Patience_crabstick: You're so right. Teachers seem toget the blame for every government and family failure. I remember in the UK, nurses used to get it often for failings of the National Health Service. I love my job, and I really fel for the kids, but I'm not amiracle worker. We just do our best, like most folks.

    AJ: At the risk of repeating myself; PISS OFF. TWICE.

  10. looby: spot on. Any way Nuova Lazio High is not dog rough. Sometimes challenging but not really that bad. I think the Kiwi expression is 'Rough as Guts'

  11. Yes TSB you are right. The problem today is the clients in any school, especially high schools.
    All the highs schools I have worked in in the region have their share of challenging students,
    but many have things in common, and an unstable home life seems the thing that stands out to me.
    Somehow I think such kids have adapted their own "survival tactics" and this is often what we encounter and perceive to be so called behaviour problems.


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