As I wrote last month, we are currently in the midst of creating a new Enterprise Agreement with teachers in NSW and ACT. It’s been interesting for me to step back and reflect on the big picture. Too often discussions begin from the wrong starting point. It’s like the Irish joke about the tourist who asks ‘how do I get to Dublin?’ The locals reply ‘well I wouldn’t start from here!’
The starting point should not be focussed on the structure but on how we support teachers within the changing nature of schooling in a contemporary world. The need to personalise learning and de-privatise teacher practice is critical in a knowledge age.
It calls for new ways of thinking and new ways of working and it’s understandable that teachers feel angst. I believe the way forward is open dialogue with teachers on what it is to learn and teach in today’s world. Teaching is undoubtedly more challenging in today’s world but when I speak with teachers I know they are well placed to come up with the best solution for their learning communities.
Dan Pink once said that teachers aren’t motivated by extrinsic rewards but the satisfaction that comes from seeing every child learn, and learn well. The more we engage in quality dialogue that is grounded in trust, an openness to reflect and a willingness to collaborate, the better the outcome for all.