I've spent every day this week in a variety of schools working with staff on their teacher only days before their students return to full time instruction. I have to confess that I really love this part of my job – it provides an opportunity to reconnect with that part of the 'chalk-face' where you see the passion and enthusiasm that exists within our profession, where plans are made for improving what is done for students, new ideas embraced and developed etc.

One part of the culture of schools that is evident in the schools I've been working with is the ability of teachers to act with good humour in times when the reality for them is that they're facing enormous change, mostly as a consequence of externally imposed pressures. This morning I was at a school where the principal used the clip above as a way of breaking the ice with his staff on their first day back. He coud do so, of course, because the portrayal of the principal in the clip is the antithesis of how he is percieved by his staff. The ruse worked, and after some good-hearted leg-pulling and banter, we got down to work together on some serious and challenging planning as the staff of this particular school prepare to move out of their existing earthquake-damaged buildings into a soon-to-be-completed modern learning environment. 

I guess my reflection today is on the value of relationships within staff, and the importance of humour as a means of ensuring that, in the midst of what can often seem an overwhelming and insurmountable task, we can laugh at ourselves and find humour in the circumstances. 

One Response to “Welcome back… (not?)”
  1. Graeme Allan says:

    Come now, Derek… This is 'first-order' pussy-footing by the Principal involved, a diversion tactic to effectively say nothing while the smell of 'smoke' becomes over-powering. I would be the teacher on the floor, frustrated by this condescension and time-wasting.

    It's a pity that John Key has not, as yet, decided to eliminate Principals from 'the system'. The urgent change needed is devised and driven by a portion of middle-managers. That is where the necessary change originates, where the ideas are for disruption - and not all are 'expert teachers' under the new classification.

    My suggestion is that ERO is 'deleted' urgently, preferably this week, and replaced with an excellent model hated by teacher unions and the incompetent in the 'profession', the Inspectorate. That team of expert teachers knew well the 'shakers and movers', encouraged them, employed them to 'spread the word'. ERO does none of that and is worthy of demolition.

    Greetings from Kaunas…

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