2020 Reflections and 2021 Goals

As we reflect on 2020, this year has been full of some great successes, and also some hard learning – maybe more than in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We asked Aotearoa’s education community the following questions about NZ principals and teachers experience over the past year:

  1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?
  2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

We have had some great responses from leaders and teachers across New Zealand and we have selected our favourites to share with you here. Let us know if you agree with any of these sentiments or have thoughts to add to the conversation! We always love hearing from you.

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020? 

I have personally enjoyed the challenge/benefits of lockdown. The flexibility of online learning really struck a chord with me. So much so, it allowed me the chance to reflect and move to a 4 day week. This has been a game-changer and I feel fresher than I ever have before moving into the last couple of weeks of the year.

 

2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

Teacher wellbeing is paramount. I always start the year with the best of intentions to look after myself and falter early on. I need to put in place more things that ensure I look after my own wellbeing as much as the students’.

Rob Arrowsmith

Teacher, Oruaiti School

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?

Having time to stop and re-evaluate things. Nothing like the government stopping schools to remind you that it’s actually not the end of the world if a child doesn’t learn the definition of a prime number!

 

2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

It’s been great to see the department actually embrace PD – I think before this year everyone has been very reluctant and defensive. All the changes they’ve embraced this year will definitely have a clear and positive effect on our teaching and progress.

Lauren Sweeney

Head of Mathematics, Otahuhu College

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?

Rebecca working with Staff for writing PD. This has really fuelled enthusiasm with our staff. Also working on curriculum leader PD with our Digital and Literacy leader. They really took a lot out of this PD. Our literacy leader is feeling more confident to lead in writing and reading in 2021. Rebecca also supported our literacy leader in creating a rubric (literacy approach plan for our whole school to incorporate next year). Rebecca has also supported our Impact Coaches by using and setting up the Iris and also suggesting how to use the profile. She also suggested coaching conversations we could watch on IRIS Connect. We all valued everything mentioned above.

 

2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

More PD with Rebecca linking into, RBL, literacy, digital, maths (anything). We would really like to continue to have Rebecca for future PD at Kaikohe West School.

Sabrina Tana

Deputy Principal, Kaikohe West Primary School

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?

Among the many disruptions of 2020 brought about by the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, there have been increasing moments of clarity about what is important in children’s learning. We have enjoyed the nudge to critically reflect on our programmes of learning and to reassess what is important. Realigning our thinking towards creativity, transferable cognitive and metacognitive skills and authentic action resulting from learning has meant a fresh look and a sense of something bigger for our school in 2021.

 

2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

We’ll take with us into next year the objective of making school a place that children are bursting to come to. With the reviews mentioned earlier, we are feeling excited about our ability to make headway on that front.

Chris Bell

Tumuaki/Principal , Bay of Islands International Academy

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?

  • Seeing teachers getting excited and inspired about teaching maths
  • Seeing students who are fully immersed in the learning, are engaged in maths in meaningful contexts, and are making connections to other aspects of learning
  • Teachers willingly applying new learning, such as productive talk, to their practice
  • The level of self-reflection by teachers using the classroom discourse rubric
  • Developing my own understanding of the mathematics learning progressions
  • Exploring and applying the five practices of orchestration
  • Working with Gillian and Lee  two fantastic professionals who understand the realities of daily teaching while skilfully prompting teachers to grow their practice in teaching maths
  • Gillian’s gift of visual representation of abstract ideas
  • Lee’s deep knowledge of maths progressions at the senior level
  • The sharing of wide professional reading about how to lead and develop people most effectively

2. What will you/you school take into 2021?

Hopefully all of the above! But specifically:

  • Continued use and development of productive talk and the five practices or orchestration
  • Growing our understanding of the mathematics learning progressions across all domains
  • For teachers to be able to quickly locate a student’s thinking on the progressions, know what their immediate next steps are, and how to facilitate them getting there
  • New skills for leadership learned from watching how Gillian and Lee have led us
  • I wish I could say I now know how to draw and mindmap like Gillian does … but sadly not so!
  • Applying our learning about effective teaching and leadership across the curriculum.
Leanne Whitfield

Kaiāwhina Tumuaki/Assistant Principal Year 4-6, Khandallah School

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020? 

I have enjoyed developing the junior curriculum with my fabulous team. The team is excited to put our professional learning into practice, linking our planning to rich learning through 3 act tasks, starters to develop student discourse and to the Learning Progression Framework.

 

2. What will you/your school take into 2021? 

The planning workshops at the end of the year means we have through curriculum plans linked to resources that are ready to use in the coming year.

Louise Sheryn

Head of Mathematics Faculty, Saint Mary’s College

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?

I enjoyed the relationship we had with Fiona – she was always supportive, helpful and every time we met with her she provided our teachers with new skills and practical strategies we could utilize to shift student progress.  

2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

The knowledge and maths strategies to continue this accelerative journey independently. We hope we can continue to create positive progress for our students as we are now more competent and know what works. 

Kathryn Pick

Principal, Eltham Primary School

1. What is something that you have enjoyed/valued about 2020?

Collaborative lesson planning, Lesson study programme, sharing of resources, self-PD in terms of digital platforms, trying new things  new modes of teaching and learning, being comfortable with other colleagues observing our lessons, reflecting and improving on ways of delivery as well as the nature of the task, development of resources for the team, teaching and learning from each other.

 

2. What will you/your school take into 2021?

Collaboration is the way to go! Sharing of resources, schools will need to invest more in digital platforms (budget), the need to have the Google drive resources up-to-date in case of lockdowns, become Tech savvy, find effective ways of following up on students who do not engage in online learning, more support for teachers 

Sush Kuar

Head of Learning Area – Mathematics, Howick College