Th Post Primary Teachers’ Association is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about proposals for new, and better paid, roles for teachers and principals announced by Prime Minister John Key yesterday.
PPTA President Angela Roberts said she was “cautiously optimistic” and welcomed the extra resourcing to support teachers, as well as greater collaboration between teachers across schools.
She said its ability to work as intended would depend on how it was implemented, but welcomed Mr Key’s promise that the profession would be involved in implementing the new roles. . . .
She said it provided the potential for good teachers to advance their careers without having to leave the classroom to take up leadership positions.
“It feels like what they have done is not just recognise and reward the great teachers, but once they’ve recognised those great teachers they will treat them for what they are, which is a great resource, and enable them to support their colleagues.”
That’s high praise from the organisation which normally opposes anything from National on principle.
Principals’ Federation President Phil Harding said the announcements were significant for both principals and teachers.
“It’s hard for me to say it but I’m pretty damned impressed. It is a huge amount of new money and I have never seen such a transformation of ideas and discussion into policy and money in my life. It has gone from a theoretical discussion about how the system needed to evolve and change just last year to the appropriation of significant resource.”
He was hopeful it would work as intended and believed the $50,000 financial incentives for good principals to take on challenging schools were sufficient. . . .
Why it’s hard for him to say he’s impressed has a lot more to do with politics than education, but at least he’s said it.
The School Trustees’ Association, which is more focussed on the impact on pupils than teachers, is less guarded in its enthusiasm:
Keeping great teachers in the classroom and investing in better career pathways for our teachers and principals is a great way to start the new year, says NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr.
“We’ve been talking about finding better ways to boost collaboration between schools for a long time.
It’s exciting to see the talk being converted into action,” she says. “This is a really good initiative.”
Providing better career pathways for our teachers and principals is an idea that that we fully endorse, as is developing a better way of supporting teachers and principals to continually improve their professional practice. Boards will be enthusiastic about the message this sends about valuing our principals and teachers. We will need to work through the practicalities of how Executive Principals
and Expert Teachers being off-site two days a week will shake down in their own schools, but boards are generally very proud of the expertise their staff have, and will be eager to share that expertise with other schools in a structured way as long as their own staff and students don’t lose out as a result.
It is good to hear the commitment to working through the practicalities through consultation with the sector, and NZSTA is looking forward to playing a constructive part in those discussions. We have all shown a lot of good faith over the last year or so, including principals’ groups and teacher unions, by engaging in open discussions with Minister Parata. The Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum is a good example. It hasn’t always been easy, so it’s good to see that investment in relationship-building bearing fruit.
If we do this right, there is potential for these new positions to make excellence contagious through all our schools. That will be our opportunity for 2014.
The NZEI is sceptical which means it can’t see past its politics to the benefits this will bring to teachers and more importantly pupils but Audrey Young writes they and the opposition:
will look as though they are opposing it for the sake of opposing it.
Key has identified an age-old problem in schools that really good teachers often leave the classroom to progress their careers.
Credible research over the years has linked good teaching to good results by pupils.
Most of us know that anecdotally because we’ve experienced it.
We don’t need credible research to know that good teachers can lift achievement and that good principals can have a huge impact on the school environment, the expectations and teaching quality. . .
It’s difficult for unions to argue against this without shooting holes in their arguments about how important teachers are.
. . . Teacher unions have found it difficult to accept performance pay because it necessarily implies some teachers are not performing well. They fear it could undermine the collegiality among teachers that is vital to successful schools.
But the way that Key has outlined the new teacher positions however looks less like a policy to divide and rule teachers and more like something all teachers should aspire to becoming. Hopefully it will also lift the status of the teaching profession in society.
The teacher unions need to accept that plans to improve teaching need not be an attack on their members. . . .
Rather the opposite is the case.
Improving teaching, rewarding good ones, helping all of them getting and treating them like the professionals they should be is good for them and those they teach.