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It's week 6 and the easy road I have had so far is over!

The transition stress is starting for some staff...it is long overdue...as no staff can deal with stress like they have this year and not have concerns and fears about the future along with resentment around what has happened to them in the past.


Taking this first 6 weeks and focusing on dealing with tin tack stuff.. health and safety, grounds, procedures etc was a bit of a tactical move...in that those are low investment areas...not many teachers have huge passion for those areas....and who can blame them!! By targeting those areas first I was hoping that it would allow time for us to buildrelational trust, a hugely important factor that is needed before you can begin to look at the big picture vision in an open, transparent and honest way. And it has worked so far...we are all comfortable with each other and staff feel able to come and air issues with me so we can work through them together.

However we are now hitting the point where we are beginning to look at the areas that teachers do have a huge passion for....teaching and learning...and it is proving highly emotive. For these teachers especially they have been teaching in a certain way for over 3 years and being told by the board and leaders that they where doing a great job...and in the areas of integration, providing a local, context based curriculum they so are...it is what attracted me to the school. However for 3 years now they haven't had to do any assessment at all...not even using kid speak progressions to support their judgements....and the leaders of the school have told them they have been doing a great job...which if you could meet the kids and talk to them you would know they have been...unfortunately they have been let down by a leadership that faked data and changed OTJ's so now...at this point in time...the data is looking pretty bleak as far as learning goes and this has impacted on their self worth.

For me coming in as leader of learning at this point in time with a teaching team who are conflicted...because they know they need valid, reliable data to make judgements...but haven't had to do this for years....is like juggling with fire rods while walking on a rolling log! I am needing to evaluate every step of the day to ensure I can keep everyone together and work gently and supportively towards a common understanding of how we keep the amazing curriculum and opportunities for our learners...while ensuring that judgements we make are based on valid evidence!


Despite this I am still very sure I am in the right place for me and know we will get through the challenges.

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Comment by Hazel Owen on September 8, 2017 at 15:02

Gosh - this sounds huge. Really liked your approach of starting with the areas that folks are less invested in first, while you are all building relationships. It means you have more of a 'culture of relational trust' as you move onto the 'unsealed, pot-holed' section of the road you are all travelling.

As you identify, not only have the teachers been receiving positive feedback from leadership, they have also developed approaches and habits that they have become invested in. Also, because they have "huge passion" for learning and teaching, there values and beliefs will be interwoven with these approaches and habits; tough for everyone concerned, including the (and in particular) the students.

I have a question, but I will ask it on your follow up post as it is more relevant there. In the meantime, I wish you great balance and a fire-resistant suit!!

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