This term the students at Kaikorai School are focusing on the idea of significance. Some of the big ideas that we want children to learn about are;
o Being resilient when things get hard
o The actions of some people have significant effects
o It is important to aim high and not to give up
o Everyone can make a difference
o People can develop strategies to cope
It was great to learn about how some of the parents of Room 2 children shared their experiences and talked to the class about the things that they do in their daily lives have a significant impact on other people from researching strokes to eliminating bacterial diseases in low-income countries.
We are obviously not expecting our students to be working or thinking at this level, but we hope that children realise that their actions can have a "significant" impact on themselves and others. What small thing could they do to make your house run smoother? Sorting out recycling? Designing a tool or making a song that times the length of their shower? This one change could have a significant impact on your family.
It is also a significant time for our staff and Board. We have received the first concepts of where the school will be rebuilt, and you can learn more about that later in the newsletter. We are reviewing how we organise our school given that we have the rare opportunity to make the buildings fit the school structure rather than the other way around. One of the considerations is to change from three to two syndicates and organise the school from Year 1-3 and 4 -6. If you have any strong views on this, I would be interested in hearing from you.
On the topic of school structure, it is nearing the time for planning for 2019. If you are intending on leaving Kaikorai School next year can you please let the office know asap.
Another significant event coming up will be Wednesday's nationwide strike. We understand that this may cause you considerable disruption to your typical day.
Across the education sector, the teaching population is aging. Various sources quote the average age of our existing workforce to be between 50-57 years old, depending on the year of the data - either way it is high. Radio New Zealand has quoted that 20% of the teacher population is over 60 years old. If the average age is 57, that means that in 8 years time, half of the current teachers will be of retirement age, so the sector will need to find around 25,000 teachers to replace them over the eight years. If RNZ’s numbers are correct, we need to find 10,000 new teachers in the next five years.
Unfortunately, the number of people signing up to train as teachers has significantly dropped over time. In 2016 in NZ, only 3,600 people qualified as teachers as compared to 5,800 in 2012. Overall the number of people training to join the profession has dropped by 40% from 2010-2016. The number leaving the profession per annum is increasing, but the number of children of schooling age is also rising. So we have fewer people training to become teachers, more children coming into the system, and more people leaving early. We have a crisis in education, and the stresses and demands we are experiencing in 2018, are just the tip of the iceberg. References are constantly made about the teacher shortage in Auckland, but it is now nationwide.
We hope that this helps you understand the reasons for the planned strike and that you can support our teachers in their quest for the best education for your child.
It is looking like a hectic and exciting next three weeks with students starting their inquiries into the concept of significance, the conclusion of the winter sports programme and large numbers of children representing the school at EPRO8, Ukulele Jam and O'Mathalon. I hope that you all achieve something "Significant" in the next three weeks!