Riki Teteina, 48, has 27 years teaching experience under his belt. He is principal of Newton Central School, a decile 8 school in Auckland. He is among 50,000 teachers expected to walk out on strike next week in protest of their pay and conditions. A particular issue is the increasing work-load teachers have to juggle on top of their lessons. Here, Riki tells Herald education reporter Simon Collins about a typical day at school for him.
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2019
Got up, worked on emails until 6.30am. Getting up at 4.30 is something I've had to put in place in the last couple of months because the sheer amount of emails I'm getting that I don't have time to address. On Tuesday I received 150 emails from teachers, parents, board members and our property advisers.
7.45am: Arrived at school. I had 15 minutes to get myself prepared.
8am: Met with deputy principal about some recent behavioural problems.
8.15am: Met with admin staff to arrange for school photos that were being taken that day, class by class and a staff photo.
9am: Phone calls with various board members to prepare for a Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for that evening.
9.30am: Checked with admin staff to make sure documents are photocopied and food is being prepared for the board meeting.
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9.30am: Visited classrooms. Touched base with teachers around some of the things I had noted in the emails. Also ensured that we had coverage because we had a number of teachers absent because they were sick or on professional development.
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11am: Met the family of a potential new international student and took them on a tour of the school.
11.30am: Staff photo.
11.45am: Met with deputy principal, who is also Special Needs Coordinator (Senco), on an application to the Ministry of Education for interim response funding for a child with learning needs.
12.30pm: Worked with the school's property consultant and our caretaker on property issues, including plans to replace our boiler, which means there will be no heating in the school during the replacement work for the next two weeks.
1.30pm: Made sure I had everything ready for my board meeting.
2pm: Tried to catch up with some emails. There was an issue with a building warrant of fitness for a new building - we got council compliance, however when Wormald did the health and safety checks they identified some issues around the fire alarms. I needed to address the fact that the building warrant of fitness was going to expire on May 20. I had to work with the Ministry's consultants and ensure that I was getting assurances that the WOF would be completed by May 20.
3.15pm: Staff meeting. We always have staff meetings on a Tuesday afternoon. It was supporting staff in their teacher inquiry, writing moderation for all the mainstream staff, and the Māori-medium unit doing writing moderation.
5.15pm: Met the board chair and our co-governance [Māori/mainstream] advisory team in preparation for the board meetings.
5.30pm: Attended meeting to Te Whao Urutaki, the Māori co-governance group for our school. Our key discussion was the upcoming board elections and how Te Whao Urutaki sits in those elections.
7pm: Board of Trustees meeting. I had 10 minutes to eat because we provide dinner for the board between the Te Whao Urutaki and board of trustees meetings. After the meeting I had discussions with individual members.
9.30pm: Meeting finished, and I left to go home.
10pm: Got home. I had half an hour with my family and was in bed by 10.30pm.
Ahmad Osama, 29, is in his seventh year as a teacher. He teaches science at Aotea College, a decile 5 school in Porirua. He is among 50,000 teachers expected to walk out on strike next week in protest of their pay and conditions. A particular issue is the increasing work-load teachers have to juggle on top of their lessons. Here, Ahmad tells Herald education reporter Simon Collins about a typical day at school for him.
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2019
I woke up – no alarm needed (despite going to sleep at 12am). I had teaching on my mind. I considered trying to go back to sleep but I was wide awake as I considered the challenges ahead of me today.
5am: I left for work.
5.30am: I arrived at work where I finalised my plans for the day and got resources prepared for classes, including printing.
6.30am: I checked my emails, and responded to a variety of emails from parents and students. I re-marked year 12 biology assessments which students had completed resubmissions on. I'm fairly happy with their marks as they demonstrate that students have a good understanding of the topic. I will need to catch up with a few more students to do resubmissions as they have been absent.
7.30am: I checked over permission slips for a field trip I am in charge of. Some students had not returned the permission slip so I needed to email their parents.
Went over Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) requirements for the trip including students' medical requirements. Double checked bookings (field trip venue and bus provider).
8am: Went down to my class to set up for my period one class.
8.15am: Went to my whānau leaders (deans) meeting, where we discussed attendance and academic progress with hui ako (form) teachers.
8.50am: Year 12 biology class. We went over our next topic, discussed the achievement standard i.e. what is required for this topic, and went over expectations of the field trip. Students completed activities on population numbers of New Zealand birds.
9.50am: Year 11 science. We discussed neutralisation and what products are formed from this type of reaction. I went over instructions for a practical with the class. Students carried out the practical. I monitored this to ensure safety procedures were followed (I need to be particularly careful when students are using Bunsen Burners). After the practical, students packed up the gear and I asked them to share their observations with the class.
10.50am: Interval. I met with a student and discussed their progress at school. I went over my expectations with them. I put them on a whānau leader (deans) daily report so I can monitor their progress and success.
11.20am: Year 10 science. I went over how to complete research scientifically: How to research; Putting information from other sources in their own words. Students continued on their research.
12.30pm: Non-contact time. I met with three students individually for 10 to 15 minutes each. We discussed various topics including their timetable, attendance, behaviour, uniform and academic progress.
1.30pm: Lunchtime. I met with a student and their caregiver to discuss uniform and attendance. We have seen some positive changes but we want to see this continue to improve. This student has so much potential and I want him to have all opportunities available to him when he leaves school.
2pm: Parent teacher interviews. I met with 11 parents over the course of the afternoon. We discussed various topics including student behaviour, attendance, academic progress, pathways at school and their child's learning needs.
6pm: Had a dinner break.
6.30pm: Checked emails – I responded to a variety of emails from parents and students.
7pm: I completed the marking of the year 12 biology assessments that I started this morning.
7.30pm: I rang multiple parents about a range of topics including behaviour, attendance and academic.
8pm: Relief writing for tomorrow's lessons – I will be on a field trip with my Year 12 biology class.
9pm: I went home.
Clare Tiafariu, is a junior teacher with three years experience. She teaches at Fruitvale Rd School, a decile 4 school in New Lynn. She is among 50,000 teachers expected to walk out on strike next week in protest of their pay and conditions. A particular issue is the increasing work-load teachers have to juggle on top of their lessons. Here, Clare tells Herald education reporter Simon Collins about a typical day at school for her.
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2019
I arrive at school, check over my plans and have a quick clean of the classroom.
7.45am: I meet with the other class teacher and discuss the plans for that day. I work in a modern learning environment (MLE) with 43 children and one other teacher.
7.55am: I go to the bookroom to get my reading books for the week
8.20am: I sit down with my co-teacher and print resources needed for today's lessons.
8.30am: Students have arrived and are waiting to get in the classroom.
8.30am: The next 20 minutes are spent meeting and greeting students and parents whilst setting up the classroom.
8.55am: We start the day with our roll and then move straight onto writing.
10.15am: We start our maths lesson.
11am: Monitor children during eating time.
11.10am: Morning tea. I am a duty teacher today so I supervise children on the playground.
11.30am: I walk back to the staffroom just in time for morning notices. Morning tea notice meeting lasts for 10 minutes today.
11.40am: Morning tea finishes I grab a cup of tea and walk back to the classroom.
11.45am: Guided reading and literacy session starts.
1.20pm: Reading to the children while they eat their lunch.
1.30pm: Finally time for lunch. A quick clean-up and make my way to staffroom.
1.40pm: I have walked through the office where I come across a student from my class who is hurt and needs an ice pack.
1.45pm: Get to the staffroom and print some resources. Eat lunch.
2pm: This block I am on my own with 43 children as my co-teacher is in a meeting with a speech therapist and another student. Start final topic lesson of the day.
2.50pm: I am still on my own in the classroom but realise I am on road patrol so I organise a person from the office to dismiss children.
3pm: Road crossing duty starts.
3.30pm: Back to classroom. Grab a cuppa and finish lunch. Have a meeting with other syndicate members to discuss transition of pupils in the class with high needs and underachievement.
4pm: Spend the next 45 minutes marking today's writing with my co-teacher. Quick classroom tidy.
5pm: Leave school.
5.40pm: Organise dinners, homework, bath times for my own children.
8.30pm: My last child has finally gone to sleep. I reply to emails, update Seesaw, which is a school communication app. Whilst I am doing this I realise I have to complete individual education plans for the under-achieving boys in our class, the outcome of today's meeting. Contact co-teacher and we edit these together through our shared drive and update tomorrow's planning.
10pm: Laptop closed. Bedtime. I haven't managed to reach my goal of writing one report per night tonight. I have 23 reports due to be completed in three weeks time. This now gets pushed back to my weekend work.
Melanie Dorrian is a Year 3 teacher at decile 6 Koromatua School just outside Hamilton. She is among 50,000 teachers expected to walk out on strike next week in protest of their pay and conditions. A particular issue is the increasing work-load teachers have to juggle on top of their lessons. Here, Melanie reveals a typical day at school.
TUESDAY MAY 15, 2019:
This is my time to talk to the students and catch up with colleagues. I've finally trained the children to open the blinds, but they automatically take the chairs down now and put up the date on the wall. There's a few last minute jobs to be ready for the day and today I am grateful that parents have made all their contacts for the day via Seesaw and email.
8:55am: The bell goes off and it is time to do the roll. This is followed by the karakia, the date and we check out the weather forecast for the day and record the current temperature as part of our long term data collection for statistics. We also compare the difference to the temperature at 9:00am on Monday – we are learning to add and subtract to one decimal place. I also give out the points for being on time to school and the early morning jobs on Class Dojo.
9:05am: Newsbook – this is where we check out the latest news and current events. It's also sneaky reading. We read five days of news and today's news is about the mega-strike planned by secondary teachers and primary teachers and principals. We also take another look at the statistics of the Chiefs v Sharks match.
9:20am: Fitness with Room 6, the new entrant class. There is a run around the field and then we come back into Room 7 to dance to some GoNoodle songs. This is reinforcing the tuakana-teina philosophy of our school.
9:40am: Poem of the Week – this week we are reading a poem about a Granny coming to stay as we have Grandparents Day in Week Four. We learn about words ending in -ly and plurals after reading the poem together.
9:55am: Writing time – my students are asked to review their writing about autumn leaves from Week Two. Three students are popped onto the three desktop computers to type up their stories, while I work with another student on my laptop to publish her story.
10:30am: Morning Tea time – students eat inside and I supervise. I pop on a classic Kiwi song as we count down Nature's Best 100 Songs. Today its is Tim Finn's A Fraction Too Much Friction . Music appreciation is important.
10:40am: The students go out to play. This is not my duty day, but I quickly check emails from colleagues and also my text messages from the outside world as I can't really do that during class time. Then I head to the staff room.
11:00am: Quickly sort out stuff with the students about play time. Check the weather and temperature again. Then the students get a mini-whiteboard each and a whiteboard marker for our Maths Talk.
11:10am: The students have two worksheets about 2D shapes to finish off.
11:50am: I ask the students to pack up. We switch to Literacy. I give out a handwriting sheet about the letters n and m and another worksheet about final consonants in words. I demonstrate and explain how to complete the worksheets before taking a reading group to read about eco-systems.
12:30pm: Lunch time – the children eat at their desks and each teacher supervises their own class.
12:45pm: I get to go to the staff room to eat my lunch. The staff are a friendly bunch and this gives us the opportunity to workshop any issues we are having with students who we need support with.
1:30pm: Back to class for the roll again and another check in on the temperature and current weather conditions. There are some issues from lunch to sort out again. Then the students gather their book bags and we go off to the library. Unfortunately, some of the behaviour is not respectful to our library environment, so I have to send two children for some time out in another class. Most children have returned their books and chosen new books for the coming week.
2:20pm: We are in the classroom again, and we get out our Topic Books. Some children are still finishing their eco-systems title, some are completing a comprehension task from our reading about eco-systems, some are colouring a picture explaining eco-systems, and I have another reading group reading with me about eco-systems.
2:45pm: Pack up, put up chairs, tidy the floor, pack bags and put them outside to go home.
2:50pm: On the mat doing some singing to end the day and tidying up any lose ends plus giving out a few notices to go home.
3:00pm: The bell goes off and I walk the students down to the bus/pick up area at the front of the school. I shake hands with each child as they go and attempt to give them a positive about their day as they leave.
3:05pm: A quick supportive debrief with a colleague before I grab a glass of water (I am so thirsty!) and head back to my classroom to sort out my mess I made that day and get myself ready for Wednesday. I write up the Newsbook for the next day (about the moa footprints in Otago) and curate the picture to go with it. I print out the stories that have been published that day. I find the maths assessment I want to use the next day and head off to the photocopier to copy those and get the printing I have already sent.
3:45pm: On the way I discover the house next to the school is on fire and the Fire Service is doing a stellar job, but the house is completely destroyed. Aue.
4:05pm: Have I got everything sorted?
4:10pm: This is nearly two hours earlier than I ordinarily leave school, but I've committed myself to attend a community event held by a local MP. It's a good opportunity to learn about what is happening in the wider Waikato and to lobby an MP about the #ItsTimeNZEI campaign for our PTCA negotiations.
6:30pm: This is about the time I get home on a good day…. I am toast!
Cameron Stewart, 30, is in his third year as a teacher. The former musician is a social sciences teacher at Wellington Girls' College, a decile 10 school in the capital. He is among 50,000 teachers expected to walk out on strike next week in protest of their pay and conditions. A particular issue is the increasing workload teachers have to juggle on top of their lessons. Here, he tells Herald education reporter Simon Collins about a typical day at school for him.
WEDNESDAY MAY 15, 2019:
Arrive at school. I intend to be planning lessons for later in the week, but instead I'm answering emails from staff and students. There are specific concerns about students in my form class as well as students who sent me work to read last night after I went to bed. I am also preparing for a new extra-curricular group I'm running at lunchtime.
8.30am: Meeting about an assessment. Talking through how we should look at marking things, discussing specific assignments, coming to agreements about what constitutes each grade.
9.30am: Year 12 Social Studies. Discussing solutions for addiction crises in the United States. Talking about the political implications for each of these solutions, where the funding would come from, and whether the will exists in the US Government to make changes. It's quite high-level stuff, and I have students who have learning difficulties and for whom English isn't their first language. I do my best to simplify the content while maintaining the depth of discussion. Students are generally pretty interested in this, and we have great discussions.
10.15am: Year 10 Social Studies. A co-taught class with 60 students and two teachers. This can lead to some really interesting and inventive teaching, but sometimes we just need to teach to the whole group at once. I'm mostly on crowd control for this class – students asking questions about work, whether they can go to the toilet, getting students to be quiet, keeping an eye on our high-needs students. We're talking about the human rights of clothing workers overseas. How does this affect our decisions as consumers? What things can we do to ensure we're making ethical decisions? What vested interests to companies have to prove they're making products ethically?
11am: Interval. Answering emails, making an agenda for a meeting next week. I make a coffee which I forget to drink, and eat a biscuit.
11.20am: Go to a classroom over the other side of the school for Year 9 Music. Individual piano time. Once the students have come to class, I talk to them about ensuring they're using this time productively. They get their books, pick their keyboards, and get themselves set up to learn. A few students have issues getting their keyboards to work, these take about 10 minutes to sort out. We are exceptionally lucky to have a full class set of books and instruments. There are a couple of students who are continually distracting others. I confiscate a couple of phones for the period. There are some students who have a lot of trouble engaging with the work, so I set them smaller tasks that they can achieve. I also write out a piece of music for lunchtime.
12.05pm: Meeting. I'm new to teaching music in a classroom setting, so I have regular meetings with the Music Head of Department to check in on how I'm going. We look for resources I can use in my Year 9 and 10 classes. We discuss the school focus on wellness, and also implications of the NCEA Review on our students and the subject. We cut the meeting short at 12.45pm so I can have some lunch, and she can prepare for the rest of her day. She is almost always the last person to leave each day, running groups until 5pm or 6pm most evenings.
12.45pm: I go back to my office on the other side of the school, have lunch (leftover macaroni cheese), and print off marks for an assessment I'm handing back today. The students handed this in before the end of last term but I haven't had an opportunity to mark the whole lot yet.
1pm: Lunch. Today is the first meeting of our school jazz band. I've got four songs ready for them to play. Working with extracurricular music groups is the main reason I teach; I was a musician before I taught so it's great to be able to use my other skills to help them develop as musicians. There is a student leader but they're new to running a group, so it's more hands on for me than it would normally be. Our music buildings aren't big enough for the number of students involved in the programme, so it's a struggle to find a suitable room, even for an "official" school group.
1.50pm: Year 11 Social Studies. We're looking at case studies of social actions about mental wellbeing. We talk about the services available to students at schools and universities, the political implications of this movement, and the perspectives of people involved. We discuss other general issues. This is a class who get very into discussions and we often get off track, but there is great learning to come from this.
2.35pm: Year 10 History. I am handing back marks from an assessment that I hadn't finished marking until last night. We have a discussion about what went well, and what went less well. There are a couple of students who are quite disappointed with their mark, so we have individual discussions about how this happened. A new assessment is introduced. They are doing presentations on different American abolitionists from the 1850s. I hope to develop their research skills, being able to discuss different perspectives on people and how reactions to them and their achievements change over time.
3.20pm: Classes end. I catch up on the emails I have missed, and get to the work I had intended to do first thing in the morning. I am preparing work for another Year 10 Social Studies class on a very challenging topic, so I need to think about how I can approach this subject with sensitivity but without watering down the material. I know this class will be able to cope with the material, but others wouldn't. I would have to completely rewrite this should I choose to do this topic with another group.
5.15pm: Going home. I have a few errands I need to do - groceries, petrol, etc. I'm home by 6pm, I cook dinner, and watch an episode of my show with my partner.
7pm: More work. While my partner is at her sports training, I do some more work. I have to complete this unit and then do some marking of an assessment. I have two sets of work that need to be handed back next week and I'm a bit behind on marking these. These assessments are relatively straightforward to mark, but because they're reports, they need to be read in their entirety and judged holistically. I have done about six or seven assessments by the time I finish up.
9.30pm: I turn off my work computer at this time, but I have emails on my phone so I'm checking these as they come through until about 10. Usually I would ignore them, but there are some important questions about an upcoming music trip.