Your teacher-only day discussions: what was said, and what was shared

How did the discussions go?

Teachers and principals were enthusiastic about the chance to discuss career development questions as part of their teacher only days.  Many reported that the initial questions led them into wide-ranging professional conversations on a variety of topics!

Some schools indicated that they were not able to do the discussion during their teacher only days as their prior arrangements didn’t allow time for the discussion.  In order to accommodate them, we left the survey open through the start of the term.   Other schools indicated that they would have liked more notice about the discussion.

We have noted that feedback and will endeavour to give as much notice as possible.

Where is the feedback from the discussions going?

The feedback from the discussions is being used by members on the Career Framework Project Working Group to inform the development work being undertaken with the Ministry of Education.

There were some strong consistent themes, as well as some clear issues where groups of members have different views.   There are clearly lots of things we need to keep talking about.

We are also using the ideas you shared about how you would like to get information and give feedback to guide our planning for the term two processes.

Some key ideas from each of the discussions are set out below.

What are you curious about?

In the first part of the discussion, you looked at issues and questions raised by members at the first stage of this process in 2016.

Based on this information, you developed inquiry questions, which help determine what we should be thinking about throughout the research and development process.

Literally thousands of questions were put forward, ranging from a very specific focus area, such as ‘How the framework could incorporate resource teachers?’ through to ‘big picture’ questions such as ‘What career pathways can be available to classroom teacher to inspire them to broaden horizons and follow passions?’

Many of the questions focussed on issues that we need to address.  Unsurprisingly workload and how the framework could help address and/or avoid creating more was a strong theme!  There were lots of questions about how to recognise or assess career development and processional growth.  There was also a clear concern that we don’t create performance pay.

People also identified inquiry questions about the possibility of creating a future focussed framework.

The main area were there were strongly different points of view was around qualifications and how they interact with career development-some questions focussed on how qualifications could be recognised whilst others looked at how we could develop recognition that wasn’t based on qualifications.

The way PLD could be included in the framework also came up as a question a number of times.

Shouldn't we be encouraging people to seek higher qualifications, and how do we reward higher qualifications?

We are dubious about whether qualifications should be seen as defining teacher quality.

Qualifications should not be used to define teacher quality as many people now stay on at university or return to complete a one year postgraduate degree without having the passion and commitment to the profession, let alone the experience and deeper knowledge through training.

How could we use the sabbatical as an incentive to keep teachers in the profession?

How do we ensure career pathways are not linked to student outcomes (ie like performance pay)?

How can we ensure we recognise the professional development commitment of teachers?

Any ‘upskilling’ or learning/courses/papers completed by teachers could be recognised as a formally recognised qualification.

Pay rates to reflect nationally (or internationally) recognised Professional Development

How can teacher workload be alleviated?

How can there be recognition, release time, support etc, provided for specific roles e.g: SENCO, Māori, ICT?

What do you value?

This part of the discussion had you looking at the roles, knowledge, skills, expertise and qualifications you think  we  need to include and exclude from a new career framework.

There was a strong call to make sure current roles are included and that opportunities for career development are included for roles such as resource teachers.

Including and formally recognising the SENCO role in the framework was a strong theme.

The Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher (ACET) attestation process also featured in the feedback with views divided as to whether it should be included, developed further or excluded from the framework.

In all the discussions, the strongest and most consistent feedback was around what we need to exclude from the framework.  Members said we much make sure performance pay and national standards are kept completely out of the framework.  This is a sentiment very strongly endorsed by members on the working group!

Collaboration, flexibility, a 'growth mindset', ongoing professional development, a sense of humour, seeking out opportunities to work together, removing barriers to learning, sharing cultures, working together on fun and difficult things, sharing experiences with our children - food, music; relationships with children, with our community, with other teachers

 Curriculum expertise - eg music, science (qualifications in). Reading Recovery.  COL teachers who have already been appointed.  SENCO,  RTlit and RTLIb.  Team Leaders, DP, AP, Principal.  Life experience. Overseas experience. Existing qualifications- graduate diploma, masters, postgraduate work.  Years of teaching recognised.

SENCO Career Pathways would be worthwhile exploring. To be able to have progression in that field would serve to elevate the status of the SENCO in schools and the community. Often it's a role that is sidelined or not even known about - sometimes SENCOs themselves seem unsure of their job. To be able to make a career out of it puts great people into an important role

More upskilling opportunities and direction as to what skills to work on for specific roles.

How can we bury the idea of performance pay completely?

As a career pathway it is great to have ACET. 4/8 classroom teachers in our school gained the qualification but one had to give it up to take on a DP role. If this teacher found it necessary to move away and not have another DP role she no longer receives ACET.

How do we make sure the framework does not put teacher against teacher and impacts collegiality and collaboration and sets up competition?

We value collaborative learning, a community focused model. We value development of a whole child, a holistic model.  We value expertise and a diverse workforce.

How do we make it work?

The one strong theme that emerged from the discussion is that we need to develop lots of different ways of sharing information and seeking feedback.

Many teachers and principals indicated that videos and on-line resources were useful.  Lots of people like the discussion resources but said they need plenty of thinking time to go with them.

Some feedback also indicated that people would like to work in smaller groups than whole staff discussions and there was a call for opportunities to meet with teachers and principals from other schools to ensure different perspectives can be considered.

Taking all of this into consideration, we are planning to make a variety of different resources for the term two member engagement processes so that you can pick the ones that suit you best and plan your own discussion processes to suit your kura/school.

Staff would like time to meet once a term, face to face, to discuss issues relating to them. Found meeting to discuss these issue really beneficial.  Liked that information was sent early for them to look over before meeting.  Not really interested in large group meetings.

Online presentations, especially for rural or outlying schools.

Interviews, videos of what 'awesome' work is currently going on within NZ. Members talking to members - reminding 'us' that 'WE' are the union.

Members are stressed with time and so anything from NZEI should be clear and succinct

Staff like short visits from the Field Office to keep them in the loop and active. But overall, staff felt that the worksite rep was the best way to keep them involved and pass on info etc so that they would continue to have input into this work. They felt it maintains and creates human contact.

We’d like to see the sharing of success stories, study options and careers advice. Especially success stories that show us what can be done to progress in our career.

Ways to anonymously comment, so people can share ideas without sense of judgement.