Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sabbatical Part Three

Thursday 3 July
Still as crook as a dog and not getting better so found a drug store and bought drugs today. Yesterday we had a great session in the morning from Jeff Howard who is the equivalent of Russel Bishop. His programme of efficacy stated that all kids can achieve to a high level and if they don't it is the 'fault' of the teacher and principal. His recipe is one of high expectations, clear targets and no let up in finding a way for each kid. Challenged quite a few people there. He made it very clear that it was not good enough for teachers to not know the actual performance targets they had for each student/class at each year level and for the students to not know and for their progress not to be measured regularly against them. Being able to do so begins to define us as professionals rather than as practitioners.

The second session was not very good. It was by Kitty Fowles and was on professional development. Her 'innovative ideas' are pretty commonplace in many NZ schools.

We found a good bar with our Aussie mate and had a feed of fish and chips! and then a pleasant walk home.

Had a terrible night and woke up worse than I have been. On the way in we found a drug store. Hopefully the drugs will make a difference. Have certainly dried up a bit, but the cough and headache are still a problem.

The first session this morn ing was from a brilliant presenter, John Collins, and his school-wide writing programme which improves student achievement across all subjects. He was hugely funny and presented a simple model which will fit in nicely with our EPF contract which rrequires us to develop writing across the school next year. He also presented the three factors that were present in all highly successful leaders in any field:
 Time – they worked long hours and had done so for a long period of time (at least 10 years)
 Feeling – they had a passion for their work and people
 Focus – they could identify the one thing they were trying to do.
If you displayed only the first two you were a workaholic, if you displayed all three you were effective.

The second session was more low-key but was great because it created quite a mood of defensiveness. Barry Jentz put forward a model for difficult conversations, had role plays videoed and then analysed them with us. His model is the same as the one we follow but I liked the way lots of people were stirred up.

After a 'ice cream social' which is everyone getting a plate of ice cream Terry and I took a new way home and had a nice feed in a local restaurant. Currently have no appetite for food or booze, but enjoyed the cajun mahimahi.

Some good reasons why it is good to be sick (compiled by Terry and Maurie in their moments of misery)
1. If we felt good we would be up earlier to go for a run (though we are walking 1 – 2 hours per day)
2. If we were well we would be drinking a lot of booze.
3. If we were well we would be eating more.
4. Therefore, if we were well we would be spending more money.


Rachael said...

Get well soon Maurie!

Ariadne aka Marilyn said...

The food may be crap, your health may be shot, but it seems as if you're getting some positive stuff from your Harvard course. How's the hearing? I'm sure the collective groan from your teaching staff will reach your ears soon. Re your health: You should always listen to your Mum. Kia kaha Maurie

Lea said...

Great to get the update. Although I struggled sympathising with you having a bad meal in Boston! Lucy reminded me yesterday to check the blog to get the low down. Can't wait to see the photos. Look after yourself.