‘Snippets for educators’ replaces the previous snippets entries.


Occasional thoughts

There is danger in accepting that only academics and those with and doctoral or professorial attainment are qualified as advisers and agenda setters. Don’t devalue practical educational experience.

Thank you letters, notes of appreciation and brief written commendations used to be part of our professional culture. People knew they were appreciated. Why have these gestures been disgarded?

Educators need to rejoice in the successes of others. This recognises the importance of being collaborative and sharing in outcomes. There is no room for professional jealously and envy.

Year’s End is Reflection Time

We all pause and celebrate Christmas, the end of the fiscal year, in various ways. For some there is spiritual significance, for others family and professional reflection. It is worthwhile taking time out to reflect on the year about to pass into history. In so doing, we ought to reflect on the positives, rejoicing in our accomplishments and celebrating our successes. Casting a thought toward the future and anticipating the growth challenges lying ahead will not hurt. Life is all about balance.

May we be blessed as educators – teachers and students. And may we continue to self-development and contribute to the developmental enrichment of others. Travel kindly as we begin closing out on 2014, while looking forward to the year ahead.


Surely the ultimate unhappiness for a teacher, particularly male teachers happens if they are falsely accused of wrongdoing in relation to students. Those who wrong children deserve punishment. However at times reporting of inappropriate conduct is mischevious and deliberate.

While the matters after investigation may resolve and be found to have no substance, allegations have a huge impact the accused, so much so that the accused becomes the victim of the piece.

Whatever the reason for the reporting mischief, it has a deadly impact upon the psyche, inner feelings and wellbeing of the person against whom accusation is made. This impacts on the accused, affecting feelings of physical wellbeing and mental equilibrium. Although not guilty of sin the accused would feel like an abomination because these sorts of allegations cut very deeply. False allegations leave permanent scars, a deep unhappiness that may follow so accused educators beyond their retirement and into their graves.


Students deserve the very best in terms of pastoral care that can be offered, Teachers and leaders must be circumspect in their approach to matters of this nature. There is no room for compromise. However, too accuse teachers and school leaders falsely seems to have become a fashion.  Lawyers ask those in toruble with the law to dig deeply into their memories in order to come up with instances of inappropriate conduct (particularly of a physical or sexual nature) that may have been put upon them when young; that in order to try and establish mitigating circumstances and lessen the impact of prosecution. To drege up some inapppropriateness for anywhere up to 30 years ago can give free rein to imagination. I know for an absolute fact that false allegations of a historical nature can be absolutely embroiling.  Suddenly alleged perpetrators are caught up in police investigations. They are presumed to be guiltty until they can prove themselves to be innocent and can become instantly non-entitled to continue occupational engagement (if they are still teaching) until the mattter is resolved. That can take many weeks and months.

In Australia, with several commissions of inquiry happening in to alleged institutional abuse ovee time, advertisments and reporting coverage are rife with invitations for alleged victims to search their souls and come forth in reporting mode. Part of the inviration may be the lure of compensation at some future time.

Genuine matters needs to be reported. However those who make mischevious, false and malevolent accusations are home free and thhere is no recourse in law for those falsely accused to seek justice.  Even if innocent of accusations, the notion of ‘mud sticking’ is very real and slurs on character everlasting.  Those falselty accused are never ever again in a good place.

In a previous entry I wrote of the value of record keeping. Many professionals keep brief records because of the time it takes to compile these documents. Over the years I have put hundreds and hundreds of hours into diary keeping and extended records including case notes. My diaries are personal documents. Copies of all other records were always kept.  When I retired, these records came with me.

Records can help if one becomes involved with writing. As a regular contributor to newspaper columns and in writing for online and print publications my records have been an invaluable assist.

In recent years, it has become commonplace for past students to begin litigation against former teachers and principals. These actions can be about any number of issues, ranging from teaching ineptitude resulting in fail grades through to allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Without the advantage of records, recall is at best vague and hazy. With the assistance of records, searches can be made to assist in refuting false and malicious allegations.

I strongly urge educators to establish the diary habit and practice record keeping. You never know when this habit will reward you for the effort.
The Words we Speak

We need to carefully consider the words we speak. They can so easily be misunderstood, being interpreted by listeners in a way not intended by the speaker. Words can cut deeply into the soul.
‘Free’ Means Second Rate
Private schools command fees. Parents pay for the privilege of enrolling their children. Public education is largely free. For this reason many laud private schools and feel ‘free’ means mediocrity.

Sometimes teachers get into a bind about how they should be addressed by children and students. Some believe that in order to encourage relationships, that first names are fine.

Under no circumstances would I endorse this approach.  Teachers are adults, students in primary and secondary schools in a learning relationship under their guidance. Respectful address demands that teachers are addressed as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.

Surnames can be hard to pronounce. Teachers with difficult or indecipherable surnames often ask students to use their christian names instead. If this is done I’d strongly suggest the Christian name be preceded by Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms. Another method might be to have children use the first letter hard to pronounce your surname. In that case it would be Mr M, Ms S and so on.

Students in secondary schools tend to refer to teachers is “Sir”, “Miss”, or “Ms”. That may be a preference but personally I would recommend the use of names as outlined above.

Appropriate address of teachers by students helps when it comes to the establishment of a respectful relationship. Similarly, those relationships are in hands if teachers take the time and make the effort to learn and use student names when speaking to their learning clientele.

It is not how a school looks that counts. It is the tone, harmony and the atmosphere within that makes a school a good school. The ‘feel’ generated is intangible and can be lost if not nurtured.

When the school or academic year ends, students, teachers, staff and parents need to take stock. They then need to relax and dismiss education from their minds. Take time out before going forward.

The most unnerving factor about education is all the tooing, froing argy-barging that goes on about structure and organisation. Education is regulated to the point of inundating schools and teachers with paperwork, administrative and accountability requirements that bury good prctice and a comon sense approach. The whole process is one catatonic mess!

The joy of teaching and the pleasures of learning have been stripped away by the grim regulatory and expectational fronts throwing up new directions and demanded priorities on an almost daily basis.
Testing is overdone

Testing, measurement and assessment can be overdone. Teaching and learning can become lost within a constant stream of evaluation. Education becomes lost within the habit of ‘paralysis by analysis’.

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