Dear Julia, How was your week?

Dear Julia,

How was your week?

My year started off pretty well. The vacations finished with me feeling excited, but a little nervous about the year coming up. Excited because I love teaching, nervous because the way I do stuff is going through a bit of a revolution (oops – already know about that : ) )

The Staff Development Day went well – the usual mandatory stuff – School Certificate results, HSC results, the great news about the ATAR scores some of our kids got and where they’ll be next year (Mate!! Johnny C was accepted into Teaching…who would have thought he’d pick that…maybe it was one of us that changed his mind..we’ll never know unless we ask him I guess, because there’s no data on those sorts of events)  and growth and decline data (the sort of stuff we see every year and put plans into place for). I even did the mandatory drug thing, put a funny video about spiders on drugs in (made everybody laugh, but they knew what it was about).

Then the kids came in the next few days. The big ones and little ones first, then everyone else. There was this quiet excitement around the joint – it was the right way to start. question.. what was the idea behind the big surprise – MySchool? I mean I sort of knew it was coming, but not Term 1 Week 1 when my mind was on getting set for the year…OHH!…I get was some sort of a cunning plan to get us thinking, like the cunning plans that fella Baldrick has. I’ll have to call you Baldrick from now on (LOL), and I guess that makes Kev our Blackadder (is that good or bad ..haha)

I’ll give you one thing though, MySchool certainly got us talking. Everyone was a bit quiet at school when we saw the website, but I guess we’ll just take it in our stride and use it the way it was meant to be used. I’m starting a list of the questions I’ve got for you on what we are supposed to make of our school information (I’ll get that to you soon), but one interesting thing I noticed was that the local Grammar school (who charge a bit for fees I’ve heard) actually had a  socio economic score  on par with us. That must explain why their Federal funding is higher than others (?)

Yeah, like I said MySchool certainly got us talking. I follow a few educators on Twitter (I guess most of them would consider themselves the more intellectual and engaged members in the job) and even they couldn’t come to any consensus on what MySchool was going to mean. One of them even used it as a way of comparing a school where their kids went, and with a school that performed well (as reported in the papers as being “the sixth best primary school in the state”). That’s a ranking system isn’t it..oh hang on..we’re not meant to do that are we? I guess if teachers do it then it’s going to be hard for parents, politicians, the papers, the tele, and all the school promotion teams not to do it too? Oh well, we’ll just take that in our stride and use it the way it was meant to be used.

I’ve got to admit, I’ve thought about little else this week, which is saying something considering I’ve got the whole year ahead of me. I’ve got to lock in my Outdoor Recreation excursions program, where I provide the kids with experiences that build (I hope) self management, self confidence, cooperation, communication, resilience and empathy (to name a few). Unfortunately there’s no way of telling if these things will influence our MySchool scores, and I feel a bit guilty about taking the Year 9’s away from school when they could be practising their exam skills. I feel sorry for the poor Maths and English teachers actually, because I’ve got a feeling they are going to cop it from parents when we start talking about improving literacy and numeracy. You said it yourself, about how if there was a problem with Maths go and see the Principal about how Maths is done at the school. I try to help with programmed literacy and numeracy in PDHPE, but our parents probably wouldn’t know that.

Hey, that brings me to my idea. You know how on the school information page in MySchool you’ve put all those coloured boxes (pink means bad, green means good…well that’s what one of our parents told me anyway)? Why don’t you give the majority of this years Federal funding to the schools that got pink boxes? The green box schools are doing OK obviously, and the pinkies need the help. Maybe that’s too simple…I don’t know…just a thought.

Anyway, you look after yourself – I know you’ve got an election coming up soon….oh, I get it.. MySchool is another part of your cunning plan. Good old Baldrick! (HaHa)

Anyway, look for that list in the mail.



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2 thoughts on “Dear Julia, How was your week?”

  1. Great post! It is so true re timing of the launch of the website. Some might have got an extra spring in their step but most will have felt that Gillard had tied concrete boots on their feet. Talk about deflating teachers’ usually enthusiastic outlook at the start of the year.

  2. Jonesy this is an excellent post. I have some fairly strong ideas on the MySchool concept (I like it!) but your post made me reconsider my cause. The timing was lousy – should have been last year. Your comment about taking Yr 9 away from school to do stuff other than preparing for exams concerns me greatly – I hope this is not going to happen anywhere, but I fear it will. That is both wrong and sad.

    It would be a novel idea to direct funding to those that are under preforming – in fact if that was the motivation I suspect few would complain (well perhaps those high performing independent schools…)

    I still think the MySchool concept is a good idea -to put pressure on schools not achieving, but it needs to be backed up by support. I hate the idea of finger pointing at faculties in schools due to an interpretation of one tests data. But is it merely a starting point.


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