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Principal’s Panui – 20 March 2020

The following was my intended message for assemblies this week.

With what is happening in the world we may all have had to develop a few new norms and routines. With that said, should distance learning become a new temporary norm, organisation and routines are still going to be crucial to attaining progress, probably more so as there will be more self-management required.

Into the rhythm and routines of the academic year

My expectation of all staff and students is that by now the patterns and expectations are established and consistently understood across all learning areas and within individual classroom settings.

This includes all students having copies of assessment statements in their books. It includes an understanding that with any assessments completed over an extended time; say 6 weeks that there will be two weekly checkpoints, to monitor progress. The point of these checkpoint Charlies is to provide feedback and feed-forward advice and then if students are not contributing their 50% to the learning environment that staff intervene. The first intervention is that the person at the coalface, the individual classroom teaching makes contact with home via e-mail. This is to ensure that the school-home partnership is walking the talk and talking the walk. Whanau recognition of the receipt of that e-mail is appreciated.

Students need to have pride in their bookwork (striving for personal excellence) something that may seem to have got lost in the digital age. I believe that students housing files in multiple spaces contribute to them not being properly organised and having a simple set of routines that they can rely on as the foundation for good progress.

The solution, have pride in your bookwork, teachers check for levels of completion fortnightly. Establishing these habits in Year 9 and 10 in particular sets our tamariki up for success at the higher levels of study. Pursuing personal excellence needs to be further supported with good organisation, time management and learning that a deadline is an actual finish line.

Each piece of learning or assessment should be treated as an opportunity of a lifetime, which must be seized within the lifetime of that opportunity. This thinking creates the right attitude toward deadlines and being the best that you can be.

If not now, when, if not me, who?

You can actually submit work early; it never needs to be a last-day drama.

The above is for the procrastinators and some others.

The following, as well as the words above, are for those with anxiety or fear of failure. If fear or anxiety are your anchors, learn to engage in positive self-talk. At Rutherford, we know that the goal is to be better today than you were yesterday, not to pass or get an ‘E’ but to attain meaningful progress from where you are now.

Our thought patterns create the attitude and create the person.

Na, te whakaaro

Ka ora, te tangata

As we think, so shall we become?

Do not be frightened of failure; be frightened of the consequence of failing to try. Kia maia, be courageous, positive self-talk. Understand that you have to do your job, your 50% of the learning must be the learner’s responsibility. Teaching requires a learner and learners must recognise that the learning is done by the person doing the work.

Failing to try is the same as trying to fail. Once we recognise this then our behaviours may change.

Lastly, please remember, that anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly as you seek to get better at it.

Please look after yourself and those close to you. In these strange times, people’s true character is revealed. Tough times do not create character, they reveal character.

If you sense that frustration is surfacing, please remember not to make a permanent decision from a temporary emotion.


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