The staff at our school have a healthy appetite for learning. Many of our staff pick up the books after a day's work at school because they are studying part-time to add to their qualifications. From post-graduate diplomas to masters degrees, there are always staff members at Waimairi undertaking study.
As well as the formal study which several of our staff are working on, the whole team are busy bringing the Revised New Zealand Curriculum to life. This involves revisiting our fundamental thinking about, and attitude to, learning.
The Minister of Education provided schools with 'teacher only days' to close for instruction to allow teachers to work on the Revised Curriculum. Waimairi School has made some use of these days but, as a clear illustration of our staff commitment to the interests of children and families, the overwhelming majority of staff have voted to complete the remaining work required during 'call-back' days in school holidays.
Six more days of curriculum work are planned between now and February 2011, all to be done during school holiday breaks.
However some teacher professional learning has to take place during school hours. This term 1/2 of our staff have been undertaking an intensive development programme that puts them into their colleague's classrooms taking a close look at their own classroom practice by seeing how others work. The break in contact time between class teachers and their children for periods of time this term will be more than made up for in the fresh approaches and renewed enthusiasm for teaching already evident among the staff who are taking part in this big learning project.
We are looking forward to sharing our learning with the school community early in Term 4 at a community workshop session similar to the one which kicked off this whole process in October last year.