While written with the Northern Territory and Australia in mind, I would suggest the thrust of this paper has tenability in other systems.


Training our teachers of tomorrow is a matter always uppermost in the planning minds of universities and education departments. Parents everywhere know that good teachers make a difference. Teachers who build student confidence and commitment toward learning, are remembered for decades into the future.

Academic aptitude is important. That is why students selected to train as teachers should be people who have done well in their own secondary years of education. While relatively low tertiary entrance scores were sufficient to allow students into teacher training programs, this is no longer the case. The Federal Government is keen to attract trainees who have finished in the top 20% of Year 12 students as prerequisite for training to teach.

Most recently, it has been determined that preservice teachers should pass literacy and mathematics competency tests that have been developed by the Australian Council of Educational Research. These tests will be mandatory for students who commence training from the beginning of 2017. They are recommended, but optional, for pre-service teachers who have started training programs but have yet to complete their degrees.

Test details are available online at https://teacheredtest.acer.edu.au/

The first tests will be on offer to those who register between 16 May and 6 June this year. It will cost student teachers $185 to sit the tests. Included on the ACER site are sample questions in both Literacy and Maths. I would recommend those interested visit the site and study these sample questions. Results will be widely circulated to universities and departments of education.

Teaching Schools

The model of teacher education has changed over time. Until ten years ago, the focus for teachers on practice was to be visited and advised on teaching methodology by university or training college lecturers. While lecturers still visit, the emphasis is now on quality partnerships between ‘Teaching Schools’ and universities. Teachers on practice work with students, supported by classroom teachers who are their advisers and mentors. In each teaching school, a member of staff is appointed as Professional Learning Leader (PLL). The PLL supports both mentors and students. Pre-service teachers benefit from the chance to learn about programming, planning and the application of teaching methodology in classroom contexts. A tutorial program is part of this approach. Assisting student teachers to understand testing and assessment requirements including test administration and recording results is included in this focus.

Part of that change is directed toward helping new teachers understand and meet graduate standards set by the NT Teachers Registration Board. Results of literacy and maths competence will now be included in registration requirements.

Given that maths, spelling, language, listening, speaking and reading tests were part of training programs in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, this is in some respects a ‘back to the future’ initiative. It will be an important victory change.


While written with the Northern Territory in mind, the thoughts conveyed have traction in all situations where communication is important. Don’t overdo the technological alternatives or skip on primary communication opportunities.



The NT. Department of Education (DoE) has a website. It can be found by simply googling ‘NT Department of Education’. That brings up a home page with links to all current initiatives, policies and everything else that relates to education. All it takes is locating the home page, perusing links and going to the information sought. Opening some links will reveal others that either extend a particular topic or point to sub-links for further elaboration. There are options for online reading, or opening and printing documents for later study.

Nearly every school in the NT has a website. A great deal can be learnt about our schools by googling school names and following the links. Included on the websites of most schools is information about their interpretation of Departmental policies. Priorities, processes and procedures are included. So too, are details about financial health and NAPLAN test outcomes.

Most questions people have about educational matters have answers that can be quite easily found by going online. Notwithstanding this source of information, questions often remain unanswered. One reason may be that answers to queries are not satisfying.

On occasion, what is written may be in language that is hard to understand because of terminology, acronym usage or jargon. Things need to be written in a clear, understandable and friendly genre. This may help minimise confusion. A good example of clear written communication is that of general information included in the NT News ‘Back to School’ supplement (22 January). Included were details about term dates and the ‘Back to School’ Vouchers. There is often ambiguity within the community about dates, school funding and parental assistance schemes. Clear statements in print clarify things far more quickly than an invitation to go online and explore issues requiring answers.

Old Fashioned Contact

While the Internet can add a dimension to communication, I do not believe it should replace the more traditional methods schools use when making contact with parents and community. Neither should the Department rely solely on web based contact . It is wrong to assume that people will, automatically seek answers to their queries by going online.

Online communication options have their place. However, the web places parents, schools and the Department at distance from each other. Online communication is impersonal. I believe there is a place for print media and conversation to be part of the way we discuss education. Traditional school newsletters, memos and letters retain their value as methods of communicating. Using the telephone to make contact is far more personal than receiving email advice about issues.

Nothing takes the place of face-to-face conversation. That should always be a feature of the way we interact with each other.


In retirement from full time work but as an educator who still makes peripheral contribution, I have discovered something very interesting.

When in full time work within schools, principals and their staff members are on the ‘inside’ looking ‘out’. New ideas, approaches, initiatives and priorities developed within the wider policy and planning domain, after some pre-consideration, are funnelled down on to schools to pilot, trial, implement and generally manage. New initiatives (so called) often come down in volume, meaning those in schools have very little time to think about what might be entailed before they have to wrangle them into place. It is this imperative that gives riser to the complaints of curriculum overcrowding and lack of time to work systematically and in a carefully managed context.

Schools are the end-point of these new educational directions . Implementation is often compulsory and has to be undertaken within a very limited time frame. The consequence of this methodology is that those in schools are case into reactive do mode. they have little time to consider the Genesis and the evolution of initiatives before they land on schools. Principals and staff members, along with school councils and communities of students and parents are discouraged by these pressures from giving genuine feedback. They have little time for talking because they are so busy doing.

The bigger picture

Once retired and with the pressure of day-to-day work lifted from one’s shoulders, the chance to consider proposed change takes on a different character. It becomes possible to view issues from the outside (the school) looking in rather than being inside the school looking out (at systems and government positions).

Being able to consider issues in a more dispassionate and less intimate weary does provide the chance for consideration and also for contribution to the shaping of policies and programs before they are down lined to schools. This can be done through contribution to working parties and accepting invitations to make submissions during discussion phases of change being considered. Some retirees joint committees considering policies at this level.

Walking away from education when retired does not afford this opportunity. For those who remain in touch, there can be a role to fill. Part of that giving back is considering how change impacted upon those within schools, from a first hand experience trial viewpoint. That can be an important perspective to include in discourse prior to ideas reaching school level.


Mottos can reveal a lot about any organisation. Allow me to share two.

My teachers training college had as its motto ‘Non Nobis Solum’, translating as ‘Not for ourselves alone’. This to me was an expression of teaching’s aim. We are there for others. For me as a student teacher and then as a new teacher going forward, it was a pointer about the perspective I would do well to embrace.

My last school as principal was at Leanyer in Darwin’s Northern Suburbs. Our motto, born in 1992, my first year of twenty in that place, grew from a need to express an ambition that needed reinforcement at that time. ‘Together as One’ became our motto. It’s application and remembrance did a lot to draw us together in oneness and unity of educational purpose.

It might sound simplistic, but mottos are important as statements underlining school organisation and ethos.


New idea after new idea, curriculum initative after curriculum initiative descend on schools with increasing frequency. Schools and staff hardly have time to consider and digest one new idea before the next one arrives. School is a place becoming increasingly frenetic and often decidedly unsettled. That is not what education should be about.

Published in the ‘Suns’ newspapers in September 2015. This subject was relevant ten years ago and will have that same relevance (if nort more so) than ten years from now.


Education so often seems to involve roundabouts and swings. As a profession it attracts more commentary and contribution than any other occupation.

Quality education is founded on the application of research. That research is often quite extensively tested before being released and recommended as part of future practice. However, the volume of ideas being passed down from governments, to systems and then onto schools can be quite overwhelming. Often very little time is given for the acceptance and embedding of initiatives before they are changed again. This means that school programs are in a constant state of flux.

National Curriculum

While many overseas systems have national curricular applying to all schools within the jurisdiction, that is not fully the case in Australia. While “National Curricular” is the flavour of current discussion, adaptation is staggered. This means that implementation is largely dependent on the resources of States and Territories. Authorities also have the right to determine if, how and when National Curriculum guidelines will be introduced. There is no uniformity or overall plan about the way this is being done.

Another anomaly is the belief that new ideas have never been previously tried. National Curriculum is an example of this thinking. During the 1980’s an attempt was made to introduce a curriculum with uniform application across Australia. States and Territories cooperated during planning stages. At the end of many months, involving time, travel and endless meetings, a national plan was created. Implementation however, was a failure. States and Territories were not prepared to surrender their own identified curricular to a national agenda. Tens of thousands of curriculum and subject documents were permanently shelved then destroyed.

Thirty years later in a new era, nationalisation is again in favour. Timing may be better but until all systems are using the national curriculum in step with each other, the initiative is still in a developmental stage.


A real danger about the floods of new ideas being dumped onto our educational systems and schools, is that school leaders and teachers are grappling with new directions and constant change. This can be unsettling for students. Change needs to be carefully orchestrated. Shifts in emphasis are often based on sudden urges to move educational focus in new directions. That is very destabilising for schools and students. New directions are necessary, but change should be managed within a structured context. To be ad hoc in introducing change creates suspicion and builds resentment.





For the past seven years, schools within the NT and around Australian have been invited to participate in the ‘Principal for a Day’ program. This year’s program is set for September 8. Schools participating have various ways of choosing the student who is selected to become principal for the day. While there is a certain novelty about this program, it offers the selected student an opportunity to appreciate the school from a principal’s perspective. Choosing the right student to fill the job can be important.

A nationwide “Principal for a Day” concept is comparatively recent. However there are schools where this has been part of the program for many years. A student principal has been chosen by the Student Council or by other means of selection. The chosen student is generally being rewarded for attitude and effort.

There have been instances of the student becoming principal with the principal taking the student’s place in class for the day. I had some first hand experience with this dual model.

Mind Set

Swapping positions works best if both the student and the principal embrace their changed roles. For the student who is principal to see, hear and experience the principal’s environment can offer a perspective and understanding of administration not usually shared with the student body.

For the principal who is student to see, hear from and associate with child peers for the day can offer understanding and insights not usually experienced. These might include awareness of classroom noise, the way students mix in the playground, recess and lunchtime activities, willingness or reluctance to comply with school rules and so on.

Experiences the student has, can be conveyed back to the student body as a whole. That might be in the form of a report at assembly. It could also be written with the student composing a piece for the schools newsletter or website. The principal who has had the experience of being a student should reciprocate in a similar manner. Marketing the experience gets the whole school and community involved in the program.
Ideally a file on the school’s website might contain the experiences of students and principals who participated in the program. This would build over time, adding to the culture and history of the school.

This is a fun activity but there can be more to the program than novelty effect. The initiative is one well worth introducing.


I write onto ‘The Conversation’ which encourages readers to respond to issues. There are some who indulge a little at times through poetic expression  and responses. These might be specific or for fun.

The following have been published on conversational threads or on ‘The Conversation’ blog.

A little away from a purist educafrtional theme, but a change in direction is sometimes warrranted. This after all is my 150th post.



Ant hands out
Grasshopper, hands out.
Call that equality?



Bad language should be taboo.
It is not good for me or you,
Event though we might be wild
To swear in hearing of a child.

It takes but little for to see
Said child wil copy you and me.
Bad words we utter without fear,
Response to child is a thick ear.


There was an alluvial miner from Quorn
A gold nugget he was going to pawn
His wife she found out
Gave him a sound clout
‘You waster’, screeched she, ‘I am gawn’.




Birth to

Death there is

An intervening mortal period.

Of life starting with womb

Awakening and following that human.


Threescore years

And ten more

(Sometimes longer these days)

The mortal traverses the earth

Reaching toward the pathway’s end.


Almost before

It started out

The cycle of life

Ends, as the planet’s occupant

Returns to the eternity of sleep.


Google is good?
Google IS good
Without ‘our’ Google
We’d be under a shroud.

You’ve opened our eyes
Informed our days
Praise be to Google
For cutting through haze.

You’re a fantastic search engine
‘Thank you’ I say
For shining a light
Down the Information Highway.



Google is here yes Google is here
Always assisting life’s pathways to clear.

Better than most search engines I say
Google has unveiled the Information Highway

For us to spurn Google t’would be at great cost
Without Googles help the world would be lost

If you are lonely in singular state.
Turn to your Google and find you a mate

Students at uni shout hip hip hurray
Google helps us research our assignments each day

No matter who, no matter where
Our companion Google will ALWAYS be there.


Work each day
As much as you can
But don’t let long hours
Lead to the ban
Of time with your family.
Relaxing each night
Is important you know
Without that shared time
Your life will wither, not grow.


The NEW world they think and say
Nothing new its old to me
Ancient people before our time
To call them ‘new’ does not chime
With rhyme or reason
So I say
It’s all old, so old
Put ‘new’ away.

Don’t accept onus, me or you
They could teach us a thing or two.
Together all, mortal, alive
We have to make the world survive.
No excuses, them, you or me
We share responsibility.

Google is our shining light
It brings cyberspace into sight
Without it’s index we would all suffer
We would never get enuffa
Understanding of what’s on line
T’would make us grizzle, whinge and whine
Yes, Google surely makes our day
As we walk the info highway.


It is wrong, nay wicked and sad
To bully your peers, is evil and bad
Playing at God through your power base
Miscarries position. It is a disgrace
To denigrate others with innuendo and joke
Will backfire on bosses who wicked jibes poke
Into the faces of those who are training.
On you derision, not respect, is raining.


Gambling is evil
Gaming a sin
A vile, repulsive addiction
Lets the Devil come in

It destitutes families
And ruins good lives
Exploding of families
Husdands lose wives

Children surrendered by fathers
Who say ‘family no way’
I cast you aside
To gamble each day.

A fortune you lose
Your inheritance waste
Your brain is a muddle
A blob of black paste.

The road leading to hell
Is a sad, lonely trek
But you care not a whit
For your life is a wreck.

Oh poetic form
Whenst have you gone?
Were you but fleeting
A few weeks at best
Before those who rejoiced in your introduction
Became palled
At the notion of routine,
Fearing Friday
Coming ’round too rapidly,
Causing the thought of poetic chime
To be revisited all too quickly.

So too, it is with life
New ideas bring rejoicement
But quickly that subsides
As what is new becomes routine
Visiting obligation
That can become unpalatable
No longer fun filled
But more an obligation, a drag.
Fie upon us for so often
Grasping initiatives
But for fleeting minutes
Before letting go
Consigning what was
And what might be
To what is
The WPB.
And again
Ad infinitum
Mr Prime Minister

Your call
You will
Always be wrong

Way you
Can be right.

Always know
Better that
You, the answer.

Is no
Straightforward way
You can find

You will
Be criticised
Until you lose.

He who
Takes your
Place, will wear

Lampooning, ridicule.
You know
NOTHING is right.

Salve their
Consciences, because
All they can

Do is
Criticise, mock
For they
Have no answer.

Forever endure
For there
Is NO solution.


More thoughts that may be helpful.

So many teachers and educators give of their time and talents in out of hours, voluntary activities supporting students and their schools. They go the extra mile and deserve thanks and appreciation.


School atmosphere is precious. It can be built but not bought. It’s establishment comes from hard work. Without dedication it can be easily lost.
Schools are like weather maps. There are highs and lows. Principals are like unto the forecast. There is a need to disperse the lows and bring on the highs. Maintaining optimal atmosphere is challenging.

Teachers and educators should always consider how their contributions and efforts can benefit and enrich student learning outcomes. What they can do to build the school collegiate is also important.

Building a school’s reputation takes time and effort. It requires the focus and concerted effort of staff. It is added to by the contribution of parents and students. And it can be so easily lost.

Teachers and educators should always consider how their contributions and efforts can benefit and enrich student learning outcomes. What they can do to build the school collegiate is also important.



As a principal, educational leader or teacher, make every effort to know your students and give them every opportunity to know and appreciate you. Knowing and speaking to students by name is a must.


Teachers  should “model” for their students. This extends to include dress standards maintained by teachers in schools.

In my opinion it would be a good thing if the state and territory departments work to establish dress codes for teachers which were mandated. At one stage that used to be the case in some of the states.

With the passing of time departments have vested confidence in teachers that they will dress appropriately and according to standard setting. For most teachers follow a reasonable and sensible dress code, there are some who don’t enter in the correction.

Correcting teachers by advising on dress standards can be difficult and embarrassing. Where practicable it is advisable that female teachers should be spoken to about dress standards by a female member of the senior team. Likewise if mile teachers need advice that is best offered by a male member of the senior staff (if indeed there is a male in the senior leadership cohort).

I believe that the teacher dress does not need to be “over the top”. Neither should people dress scantily or inappropriately because this let’s the standard of our teaching profession down quite badly in the eyes of the public. Whether we like it or not, members of the community do talk about the way we dress and comment on our general behaviour and deportment.

Recently (2014) the New South Wales Department of Education introduced minimal standards of this for teachers which will be regulated in that state. This may have been because of a need for this issue to be addressed. Whether other departments will follow in a similar direction remains to be seen. It is to be hoped however, that teachers will dress in a way that shows their respect about profession so that regulation is not necessary.

I believe at the end of the day, teachers are modelling and setting standards for students. That is something we need to do in a respectful and empathetic manner. While it may be considered not proper to talk about these sorts of things the way we dress and our quality of deportment as teachers is certainly something that students and the public take into account when considering teachers and the profession.

Education is exciting, often because of the chance to innovate and try out new ideas. However, it is important to consider and study the merit of new ideas. ‘Reform’ and ‘initiative’ are words often overdone.

Education that bounces from one new idea to the next, to the next in rapid succession, can present a destabilising and hard to follow classroom experience for children. There seems no end to the plethora of ideas, approaches and priorities that come along.

It is important that schools and teachers apply a filter to suggestions of change. The pros and cons of issues need to be considered. To grasp at something new for the sake of its novelty is unwise.

Schools and staff who take and consider ideas and change suggestions are wise. This is where the value of collaboration and conversation comes to the fore.  Within every group, there are those who want to run with change, others who prefer dialogue and careful consideration and a third group who dig in and avoid change at all costs. from this delightful mix, school organisation evolves.

Some thoughts:

* Discuss issues with colleagues and also be a sounding board for them.
* Read and research new initiatives.
* Make a list of the pros and cons relative to change in teaching approaches.
* Discuss ideas with people who may have trialled them.
* Make the subject one for discussion at unit meetings and possibly whole staff
* Consider whether changes will build on what has gone before, or whether
they will mean starting all over again in particular areas. There is a lot to be
said for ‘steady state’ or incremental development.
* Take into account budgetary implications of change. Programs that are resource           heavy can finish up costing schools a lot of money.
* Consider if change addresses major learning needs or if it is simply about        embellishment or ‘prettying the edges’ of learning; is it about superficiality or

Change ought not be resisted by habit. Neither should it be blindly accepted for change’s sake. Consider new ideas on their merit including thinking, reading and discussion with others.

Importantly, consider that change builds on what has gone before. To throw out everything that has been developed, using change as an excuse to ‘start all over’ would be the extreme of foolishness.



Teachers and educators should always consider how their contributions and efforts can benefit and enrich student learning outcomes. What they can do to build the school collegiate is also important.

It seems that the thrust of education is toward developing opportunities for students to progress  through  the practise of technology supported learning . Devices from electronic smart boards to computers, iPads and other devices are front and centre. More and more schools are developing a “bring your open device” policy when it comes to technology. It seems that the children are increasingly immersed in technologically focused learning.

There is a place for technology in our schools. However if devices replace teachers  it will be to the detriment of education. The best learning outcomes are achieved through direct interaction.  When using computers and iPads, children can easily log out of learning and go onto some amusement or games application.

Approach to lessons and learning needs to be based on time and organisation. There needs to be a patterned and ordered approach to  learning.  Taking teachers out of the equation and replacing them with computer controlled programs, detracts from education.

The emphasis in the NT is toward Direct Instruction (DI).  Concern about poor educational outcomes has lead to a revival of this instructional method.  “The Direct instruction strategy is highly teacher-directed and is among the most commonly used. This strategy is effective for providing information or developing step-by-step skills. It also works well for introducing other teaching methods, or actively involving students in knowledge construction.” (Instructional strategies online, Saskatoon Public Schools)

Explicit teaching, lectures, drills, specific questioning, demonstration and the guiding of listening, reading, viewing and thinking are direct instructional practices. DI is about close interaction of teachers with students to enhance teaching and learning opportunities.  Computers and iPads by their very nature can put distance between students and teachers. If their use is not carefully managed they can become a distraction.

A very important part of teaching and learning is the way body language and facial expression impact on classroom outcomes. Teachers can sense confidence about what if being taught through student responses. Similarly, students can sense how their teachers feel about work being completed. Shared personal contact within classrooms is a very important part of learning. Computer based education does not allow students or teachers to appreciate body language or facial expressions.

Technology has its place in education as a support to learning. However classroom focus should be about interaction between teachers and students. Replacing teachers with computers will impact negatively on the quality of learning and educational outcomes.



Indigenous Education in the NT has been a matter of prime focus for many decades. While there have been some successes they have not been uniform or consistent. Initiatives, reforms, suggestions and new ideas come through in what seems to be an endless succession of reports. These reports go back to the 1960’s.

The most recent of these is the Wilson Review on Indigenous Education released in 2014 with a view to implementation from the beginning of 2015. However, some of the key recommendations in this review have, in times past, been initiated, developed the discarded. This means that many “new” ideas are not new but revisitations to what happened in earlier times.

The idea of newness comes about for several reasons.

* The rapid and constant turnover of teaching staff is a key factor in the provision of indigenous education. Teachers appointed to community schools often stay for months rather than years. There are exceptions but turnover and staff movement is generally the order of the day. This is very destabilising and does little to convince those living in communities of educational values and benefits.

* Very little is recorded to confirm what programs are in place. Too often incoming staff are confronted by a blank page. They start all over when it comes to progressing education because there is nothing to show what progress has been made. School policies, reports and documentation are generally scant. Sometimes records are non-existent.

* The question ‘education for what’ is very real. While the value of literacy and numeracy cannot be argued, students are discouraged because employment prospects within their communities are bleak.

* The concept of “reactive leadership” has become ingrained in indigenous education. Principals and school leaders wait for things to unfold and are not sufficiently a part of the developmental process. They lead from behind. This reluctance may be due in part to the politicisation of education. Principals are frightened to take initiatives in case they are reprimanded for over-zealousness, lack of consultation, or mistakes they might make.

These issues can cause distress. The fact that education so often advances no further than Genesis 1:1 is anathema. For things to be forever “in the beginning” is discouraging, raising community questions about the value and worth of education.

Direct Instruction teaching methods and a keen focus on eliminating truancy indicate that some progress is being made. Too often that motivation sputters and fades. Over time, remote education has followed a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ pattern of development. That irregularity will continue unless and until those with stake and interest in Indigenlous Education are in sync with each other.


Listening, speaking reading and writing are essential communication skills. Use of technology often substitutes for live conversation. Texting and messaging have their place but ought not replace face-to-face speaking and listening. Correct sentence structure including the use of punctuation, word choice, intonation and clarity should be built into verbalisation. Children also need to clearly hear messages so they understand what has been said. Unclear speech and poor listening skills can develop from lack of practice and the substitution of keyboard communication. Reading from texts may be supplemented by electronic media but should never be supplanted by screen reading. Nothing beats books.

Keyboard skills and the ability to electronically produce written text adds to the student repertoire. This should never be at the expense of handwriting. Mastery of paper and pen communication is important, enabling the written word to be produced anywhere and at any time.

Technology supports education but in no way should it replace traditional literary and mathematical teaching and learning. Should that happen, students will be the losers.

Some say private education is good as parents have to pay to enrol their children. Public education is mediocre at best and best avoided because it is ‘free’. People tend to look down on free things.


From birth until death, education is an incremental and ongoing process. It never stops. Those who think they know it all do themselves a grave disservice because there are always new things to learn.


So much about education has a “modern” and “new age” emphasis. A great deal of what happens educationally is driven by technology. Some believe that technology has supplanted the need for learning basics. Computers, iPads and other technologies have their place in supporting students. However, they should always be tools used to enhance assignment preparation and work requirements. If students rely on devices to provide spellchecking, grammatical correctness, accurate mathematical formulae and so on, they may meet learning requirements without understanding what they have done. This is especially the case when voiceover or on-screen directions advise students what to do next in reaching toward solutions and answers.

Cognitive understanding suffers when directed learning fails to provide pupils with the understanding of ‘why’ solutions and answers are correct. This reliance on technological assistance can start in primary school and extend all the way through to tertiary study. That takes away from students their ability to reason and think. Computers and iPads become a crutch on which they lean too heavily to help satisfy learning requirements. There can be nothing more dissatisfying for students, than not understanding solutions to questions that are solved by technology, rather than their own brain power.

Work life balance for all, including students, is important. Study, including homework, should not be so voluminous that is gives students little time for relaxing, reinvigorating and having fun.

As teachers and principals we need to work on catching students and staff doing something good so we can offer praise. Meaningful and sincere not shallow and trite compliments. Praise pays dividends.

Curriculum priorities and teaching strategies are constantly changing. It is important to keep up with the times. Schools also need to offer predictability and steady state development to students.

From working with pre-service teachers, the issue of almost universal concern is that of classroom management and achieving as teachers in a context of dealing with respectful, motivated children.


From speaking with a lot of pre-service teachers, I believe the thing they celebrate most is being able to make a difference. They rejoice when children come to love learning and personal progress


From time to time print and online articles emphasise the importance of workplace satisfaction and happiness. Some even address the need for work places to be fun places. Humour, laughter and light-heartedness are promoted as having tension relieving capacity. Inherent within this is a suggestion that not everything we do will be perfect and errors will be made. We need to have the ability to reflect on our mistakes and learn from them about how to improve and do things more successfully. An element of this ‘sitting back’ is the ability to reflect seriously but also light-heartedly because there is often a funny side to outcomes.


There is a need for those who share workplaces to ‘give and take’. We should welcome the evaluation of our efforts by others and be prepared to offer feedback to them as colleagues. It is important for well-being that people within organisations are able to share with each other. This includes the both receiving and giving of advice and appreciation.


I really admire teachers and school staff members who have a deep, enduring and long term commitment to their roles as student educators and supporters.

Some use schools as trampolines – launching pads to greater glory. How wrong it is that some are selfishly motivated. I have nothing against upward mobility but if schools are ‘used’ by those who want to climb to the top regardless, those who get to the top may find a lack of respect held for them by those who were colleagues.


It is over-the-top naval gazing and ‘paralysis by analysis’ that has become the major preoccupation with systems. Accountability is rampart and trust in teachers and their judgement discounted.


I always remembered student and staff birthdays with letters to students and cakes for members of staff. These remembrances paid dividends. They confirmed my appreciation for staff and students.

At the end of each week, we should mark time. We need to pause, reflect on the week that has been, consider what we have done well and give thought to tasks confronting us in the week ahead.