Why I teach: Creating Kiwi can do-ers

Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013

Planning work in Miriam Bell's classroom.

A snapshot of what learning looks like in Miriam Bell's class.

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What I do as a teacher is all about enabling children, no matter where their natural abilities may begin or end, to learn.

It's about teaching young people to think for themselves, to be problem solvers and not puppets. To get up and try again when both Plan A and Plan B go pear-shaped. To find the answers themselves when Mrs Bell or Mum and Dad aren't there to help. To look beyond the obvious and ask the right questions. To be resilient, resourceful, and useful members of society.

New Zealand has always been a nation of 'can do-ers' and this characteristic is epitomised in our schools. Our curriculum is designed to be integrated and to draw on the creative strengths and passions of individual teachers, rather than a prescribed list of 'must-do's. It is this flexibility, whilst maintaining an expectation of excellence and depth of thinking, that keeps me in the profession of building tomorrow's thinkers. It keeps me learning and researching new subjects, new perspectives, and alternative methods of presenting concepts. A teacher passionate about continuing their own learning and refining their own teaching practice and effectiveness gets great results. A teacher who feels valued by the community for their expertise and experience gets great results.

Our schools are full of these teachers, despite working in a system where talks of performance pay, school closures, National Standards and even the media challenge their worth and undermine their true effectiveness.

What I do isn't about creating parrots - that's easy. It's about embracing excellence - which is so much greater than a test score.

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