Dear Teachers and Principals of New Zealand,
In the 2015 term 2 edition of ‘School News’ an open letter titled ‘An invitation to collaborate’ was directed at the Minister, Ministry of Education, teacher and principal unions, NZSTA and other educational organisations. Sadly, the offer to sit down together for a 90- minute meeting and collaborate on teacher/principal wellbeing was declined, many claiming that they had other pressing matters that needed their attention at this time.
The Minister and the Ministry both replied through a combination of four emails. They commented that they had established engagement with the unions and other peak bodies and discussions were ongoing around a range of topics.
NZEI – Initially they were keen to attend a forum but then cited other pressing matters. They pointed out that an improved telephone helpline five days a week, eight hours a day was available for members. Field officers were also busy supporting teacher and principals nationwide and that there was already a collaborative support network programme ‘Member Assist’ where members support each other.
PPTA – They commented that they are already involved in a range of work around teacher/principal wellbeing and wellness. They are currently preparing a report on workload, its causes and solutions and will be advocating through their sphere of influence, a reduction in the causes of huge workload for teachers and principals. In recent months, they have also invited me to present teacher wellbeing workshops at two of their conferences.
SPANZ – Just an e-mail to decline the invitation.
NZPF – A very short reply to decline the invitation and one other sentence: “We have a huge initiative in the area of principal hauora.”
NZSTA – No reply.
What a golden opportunity missed. ‘If you always do what you have always done, then you always get what you’ve always got’.
Oh by the way…we as teachers and principals are also very busy!
Ian Vickers 5th August 2015.