It was such a privilege to simply be at the New Zealand Principals’ Federation Conference in Rotorua at the start of last week, in the presence of so many dedicated primary and intermediate principals from around the whole country, let alone be invited to speak. The atmosphere was positive, energetic and energising. It really is no wonder these outstanding people were all selected to become school leaders!
Somehow, despite trying to remain discreet during the pōwhiri, I ended up on stage, sitting next to the Associate Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti. I was truly humbled by her special mention of me in her speech.
There were some brilliant speakers at the conference, and not only did I get to shake Sir Ian Taylor’s hand, I had a one-on-one with him at Rotorua Airport before we both flew home.
As for my own session, here is a bespoke slide to tie in with the conference theme “Power, Passion, Pace”, signifying the need to renew, refresh and move ahead after a fragmented year in 2020.
I asked my audience to engage with the sobering data presented, and to be inspired by the students at a decile 1 school whose lives changed forever when their teacher showed them how to line up the columns. This is not just about getting better results in our local and international tests – this is about equity in our education system, and ultimately, equity in our society.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many special messages like this one:
“Your talk was the highlight of the NZPF Conference for me, as far as what can be done to change practice in my team to improve outcomes for students. What you said made sense and the changes that need to be made are not major. Thank you for enlightening us. I hope the government take notice and promote your ideas!”
Special thanks must go to NZPF President Perry Rush, for leading the charge this year to do something about New Zealand’s maths education. The hundreds of principals who jumped onto this website as soon as he sent them a link are a testament to his tremendous leadership. Let’s see what these amazing school leaders can do on the ground. Wishing them all Power, Passion and Pace!
Dr Audrey M Tan
9 August 2021