NZ Teacher

February 2012


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Thank a teacher - Every morning, from my kitchen window, I watch school children waiting at the school bus stop near my house.

With each passing day since the 2012 school year began, I have noticed students are looking more and more at ease as they wait for their ride to school. It is about now – a few weeks into the first term, public holidays out of the way, new school shoes broken in, students’ names committed to memory – that teachers and students are really starting to find their rhythm in the new school year.

I credit the increased laughter and more relaxed stances of the school-bound kids outside my house to their teachers. Curious to know our students’ perception of their Kiwi education, I asked student leaders from Auckland to Otago to give their candid opinions of what was good – and not-so-good – about their school years in New Zealand. Of the students I surveyed, the vast majority were positive about their schooling and paid tribute to teachers who provided the motivation and support they needed. There are also a few pointers we would do well to take heed of; with that teaser, I urge you to read their testimonies. I also encourage you to ask your own pupils to reflect on their education – there is much we can learn from their experiences.

There is also much teachers can learn from each other, it transpires. Teachers Council discusses how best to put the new Induction and Mentoring Guidelines into action. We also dedicate a special section to new teachers and their mentors, with advice from experts and fellow new teachers on what to be prepared for in the early days of your teaching career.

After all, as every teacher knows, it’s not all a bed of roses. In this issue we look at the tricky issues: how to deal with difficult students, whether our anti-bullying policies are working and how schools in Christchurch are coping one year since the February earthquake.

The education sector has made a few waves since last year’s election. The new Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata, outlines her hopes and expectations for New Zealand’s education system and shares a little of her personal history with Education Review readers. Parata will certainly have her work cut out for her – the introduction of charter schools and the recommendation to increase class sizes have made headlines in recent months with decidedly mixed reactions from the sector. We consider these different opinions in this issue, and we welcome readers to add their two cents online.

Thank you for the excellent feedback – keep it coming in, along with your suggestions for future articles. Next up – Postgrad Schools of Education.

Jude Barback, editor