The team at Cognition Education would like to extend our admiration and thanks to school leaders and teachers during another overwhelming school year. Your hard work and dedication are commendable, and we hope your year ends on a high note (and that you get a relaxing break). 

We asked Aotearoa New Zealand schools to reflect on 2021. Thanks to everyone from Douglas Park School, Mt Roskil Primary, Oakura School, Frankley, Cliffton Terrace School, Scared Heart Girls’ College, Merrilands School, Welbourn, Westmere, St John’s Hill, Churton and Mosston for your responses.  

How do you describe this year in 3 to 5 keywords? 

What is the most important lesson you learned this year? 

Being open to change, new learning, and collaboration… Being able to share how we do things with new staff and be the ‘expert’ whether I wanted to or not… 

I need to take time to unpack new learning before I understand and implement it. 

To  keep building strong relationships with families where possible, so that student learning is a real partnership. 

Be open to change and listen to others. 

To be adaptable  and prepared for any situation. 

 To appreciate/be grateful and to adapt to change.

To let things go and not let things fester.

Slow down! 

To enjoy the challenges I face instead of stressing about them (knowing that they are never-ending). 

Collaboration is a wonderful thing. 

Be open to new thinking.

How important my family are to me. 

To listen as much as possible, to understand others so we can work together effectively.  

The value of extra-curricular activities and events for school culture. 

The importance of building relationships with students.   

What challenges did your school overcome?  

Before lockdown, adapting the learning walls to meet my students’ style of learning and my own. Asking for learner’s feedback about how much is too much and how much is too little. 

Provision of online learning for our students. 

Learning how to navigate an online learning forum 

Online learning over lockdown . 

Lockdown learning and engaging with students off site.

Online learning… still in the process of developing this. 

Covid restrictions affecting events, loss of recent staff member. 

Learning from home during lockdown. 

Limited accessibility or desire to be connected digitally.  

Lots of changes in staffing, buildings, programmes…. We became stronger as a team. 

Covid – transitioning between levels. 

Engaging many families over lockdown. 

What have you been most proud of this year? 

Not giving up!! This Professional Learning has really allowed me to expand my understanding around teaching Math.  I think I am opening my mind to a much deeper understanding of how children learn math and how to best plan and implement quality teaching and learning.  

Listening to the students agreeing, disagreeing and explaining in such a respectful and articulate way. Students wanting to explain their thinking and accepting when they learn something new and change their ideas. 

I am proud of the class culture I have created with a new group of learners at maths time. I have 2 students who have been part of our team before and the rest are brand new. 

I have grappled with and become a better maths teacher as a result of ALiM and the maths PLD. I have grown in mathematical knowledge and understanding, and  become a lot more confident. 

How our team have pulled together to overcome the challenges of this year and provide exciting learning opportunities and successes.  

Development of Akoranga programme. 

The growth in disposition and understanding in the Maths target group. 

MST completion, leading the team with Erin for Maths. 

The growth, albeit slow, in our team with PLD support. 

Loving working with the team at a new school and sharing ideas. 

Talked less and listened more. 

 Not taking things  personally. 

Growing my knowledge/ skills in mathematics and supporting others in the school to grow also. 

How our team collaboratively work together and that we are all on board with the maths’ PD. 

 Collaborative process within my team.  

I learnt about our staff. Have built good relationships with staff, students and families. Settling into new school and role. 

My amazing class and the relationships we have. 

My students engagement throughout the entire year despite covid. 

Having a wonderful student teacher who I will be working with next year. 

Positive comments from parents. 

What are your intentions and priorities for next year? 

 Deep planning using learning walls to guide, working alongside others who might need support, continuing with accelerating target learners. 

 To get back into the classroom setting and put new knowledge and understanding into action, leading to positive math outcomes for my students. 

To keep growing as a teacher. 

Grow a shift in mindset across the school in maths.  

Building maths capabilities across the school and inspiring others to realise that maths is cool. 

Encouraging collaboration and discussion around maths across the school. – overcoming challenges and supporting each other. 

Continue to grow my skills as a school leader of curriculum. 

Being a mum. 

Continue on our maths leadership and professional development at Welbourn. 

 Continue the maths leadership role and sustain the journey that we are on. 

Have more fun! 

Use wellbeing and manaakitanga as umbrellas under which I work with others.  

Balance!  

To provide lots of learning opportunities for my students.  

 Try to be a positive and responsible mentor. 

 New management role.