On Strowan – Volume 14 // Issue 2 // 7 March 2019
"…we are focused on ensuring that we avoid distraction as much as possible, protect our learning time in the classroom, and balance this with a healthy, vibrant and engaging co-curricular programme, focused on holistic student development."
Christine Leighton, Rector
Over half way through Term 1, and one gets the feeling 2019 is going to be over before we know it. The first few weeks have been packed with activities and successes, and diaries are full of coming events and deadlines. However, amongst all this I am conscious of the quality conversations, commitment to learning, and open hearts and minds I am surrounded by. Whether it is an early morning meeting of the Sustainability Council, an impassioned debate about climate change, a guest speaker for staff about the concerns of online pornographic material, the innovative thinking of the VEX Robotics team at the national competition, the resilience of our rowers at their many regattas, the incredible commitment of our volleyballers and tennis teams (Senior A Girls’ volleyball and Mixed tennis are South Island champions!), or the infectious enthusiasm of the Year 10 students and Te Waka staff at their dawn ‘Calling Ceremony’ at the New Brighton Pier last Thursday, it is difficult not to be affected by the positivity which has coloured the first few weeks of the school year.
Behind all these activities are a dedicated staff who since mid-January have been preparing for the new school year, reflecting upon their classes’ NCEA results, completing annual reports which capture whole school achievement analysis, analysing online student profiles for the 100 or so students they teach, meeting with parents of students in their tutor groups, organising curriculum field trips, camps, productions, sports competitions, and numerous weekend events. Dedicated teachers are a critical resource for any school and it is important we look after them.
There is much comment in the media about teacher shortage, teacher pay, and the distraction from classroom teaching due to the increasing demands of administrative tasks, reporting requirements, and never-ending curriculum and pedagogical change. I have grave concerns for the proposed changes in the ‘Schooling Futures’ document and feel grateful that, as an independent school, St Andrew’s College will not be subjected to the upheavals and distractions that would inevitably arise from the proposal therein. Please click here to read the report.
Our world, including the educational landscape, has become increasingly complex, and it is difficult to keep up with the demands of change and innovation. Online communication, developments in technology, masses of data and social media distraction, all have the propensity to distract us from our core business and healthy relationships. At St Andrew’s we are focused on ensuring that we avoid distraction as much as possible, protect our learning time in the classroom, and balance this with a healthy, vibrant and engaging co-curricular programme, focused on holistic student development. Essential to its success are our teachers. Let’s be grateful to them and recognise the dedicated, good people that they are.
With kind regards,