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Principal’s Panui – 17 May 2019

The Path to Success and Happiness. This path has discretionary effort at every signpost.

This panui may start the same as last weeks’ article but I have added to it to include what makes good students or great students.

Good teachers are well planned and hit deadlines and build relationships. Great teachers enhance this foundation by keeping all students connected and engaged They do this by knowing their ākonga, what’s important to them and where they are at within the current body of learning being covered.

On the flip side, good students or learners are planned and hit deadlines because doing that has nothing to do with talent it just needs organisation. Good students make an effort to get to know their teachers and give something back to them when they are trying to help them.

How do we do that? We keep students in the conversation for longer by asking the right questions of the right people at the right time.

Good students make an effort to stay in the conversation longer by listening to the question and thinking before answering, or even if not answering thinking because it is the thinking that creates connections in your brain.

So the must do’s are to plan and prepare, hand in work so that work can be handed back with appropriate feedback and feedforward information, in a timely fashion, so that you can take the next steps. The more this is done on both sides of the teacher-student relationship you are working to build and sustain authentic relationships based on trust and working together. That’s where the rubber meets the road.

From there we can start to move from good to great, we move from ticking off all the must do’s as students and teachers and then starting adding to our kete a number of should and could do’s. What some people might call extra, I call it discretionary effort. It’s not just doing what is required to get the job done to a minimum standard but is where striving for personal excellence starts to kick in. Not just oh well, done enough to keep people off my case.

There will always be certain things that make certain teachers memorable for you as students. I ask that all our kaiako/teachers adopt a one size fits one approach, where the trust is evident, that there is passion and enthusiasm for who and what you teach, and any individual learning challenges of acceleration or extension are met with a genuine love of meeting each student at the door with what they bring.

We prompt, we scaffold, we challenge and draw out of students to be brave with their learning and this includes removing the fear of failure and all the while both the student and the teacher have fun and enjoy the process, not just the outcomes.

Over time the best teachers draw students in and then draw out what it is they know, what they don’t do is just paint it on. The best way for this to happen is if you as students are not spectators in the game but are actually in the game. If you want the information painted on it will stick for a while and you might get the achievement at a minimum level but the learning will eventually wash off. If you want it to be bone deep and not a thin skin covering then you need to invest time, thinking and energy in the process. That’s what discretionary effort is about, and what at Rutherford, we call striving for personal excellence.


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