Sombreros, sandwiches and wisdom

Greg Jarvis was a wonderful Principal that I had the privilege to work with in the Northern Territory. Greg, by his own admission, was far from perfect.  One day that he walked into my office and bellowed that the parent meeting he’d just conducted was “Like eating a shit sandwich” … while that parent was…

Canaries in the Classroom

After 27 years of teaching and leading in schools, I’ve never been more frightened for my industry. In the old days, miners would watch the canary in the coalmine for signs that a gas leak had made the worksite uninhabitable. I prefer to think about the teaching profession as a powerline with several canaries perched…

Exclusion

I get it.  There are times when we need to press the reset button and acknowledge that a particular lesson has gone pear-shaped and just isn’t working for a particular student. There are times when we just can’t go on.  And I trust teachers to be able to tell when it’s just not gonna happen…

The Heroic School Leader

I spent the last few days at the ACEL National Conference and one presentation got under my skin. Georgie Harman is the CEO of Beyond Blue … and she’s freaked me out a little bit.  In commencing her keynote, Georgie spoke to it being the way that School Leaders show up in crisis – and…

With them

Geez, I’m lucky. I’m currently collaborating with ACEL on their 2021 National Conference and it’s meant zooming with a few educational heroes of mine including Pasi Sahlberg, Michael Fullan, Pak Tee Ng and Mary Jean Gallagher. I’ve tried – I suspect spectacularly unsuccessfully – to look cool in those zoom meetings. Something simple that Mary…

Favouritism

Favouritism is something that every teacher actively strains to combat.  We’re not supposed to have favourite students or classes … but we totally do. I think my favourite class of all time was a group of Year 5 & 6 students that I taught at Skye Primary School around 2002-ish.  I had most of these…

Holding or Taking?

Words can be confusing.  Sometimes they bring a beautiful expression to our beliefs, but sometimes they downright impede sensible action in critical areas. When we get our words wrong, particularly when explaining our beliefs, we often choose ensuing actions that cause harm and damage. Take responsibility for example.  Which of the following statements, which both…

You’re a loser

For some of us, September signifies the footy finals of various codes.  And I get it … for many it’s a case of “Who cares?!”.  Stick with me. These days, we often get an insight into the behind-the-scenes action at many clubs and, after their loss and elimination from the AFL finals, Essendon gave us…

Luck, uncertainty, teaching and NAPLAN

Teaching is pretty much an act of building a plan for success in the most uncertain of environments – roughly twenty-five young people with unfinished brains – and hoping for the best. I know this because I’ve run lessons where I’ve been good.  Really good.  I’m talking educational Michael Jordan good here.  My assessment, reflection, curriculum, learning activities…

Knowing where the line is.

Tonight, the AFL Finals Series begins – but before we descend into the grip on ‘finals fever’ I’d like to take a quick look at the last match of the home and away season between Port Adelaide and Collingwood for an important lesson about schooling. As a fervent Richmond supporter, I’m genetically predisposed to disliking…