The first speaker of the day is Pip Field – Professional Standards for Teachers in South Australia. I’ve heard Pip speak on this topic before last year at the E-Portfolio Conference. She outlined the fact that most teachers will say ‘”I’m just a teacher.” She pointed out that it’s unlikely that anyone would say,” I’m just a lawyer,” or “I’m just a doctor.” She hopes that the standards can help promote a pride in our chosen profession. She reminded us that teaching is very contextual and that is more than just cultural. Some accomplished teachers in ore type of school might feel like they are “starting over again in a new site.”
She led us through a lot of the developed materials, showing how the standards can map out a teacher career with a focus on leadership. The actual document can be downloaded from the DECS website.
After our morning tea break, we heard from Andrew Plaistow, principal of Alberton Primary School. His address was to tell his story of curriculum reform at a disadvantaged school here in Adelaide. He stated by saying his first priority was to build a team for the reform, with a specific choice to block out all other distractions. He spent significant time with his staff getting them to "walk in each other's shoes."
They developed a vision for their school and have made the elements of that the priority over things like Occupational Health & Safety paperwork and meeting minutes. He also emphasised that if you get good people on site, then you need to look after them. Believe in people. By looking after them, he believes that "small things are big" ~ looking after the small things reduces stress levels and therefore gets better performance from his staff. Another great quote - The faster the momentum, the harder something is to stop. And the logical follow on line - Slow change can be stopped easily.