From a teacher to Key….

The Prime Minister

Mr John Key


Dear Mr Key,

I am a teacher at ……………… School in …………….. I heard you speak about our profession on a televised news conference and I was appalled enough to put pen to paper.

The only credible explanation for your words that I can ascertain is that you must be incredibly out of touch with the reality of the calibre of teachers in New Zealand. To suggest that we need to, ‘put the children first’ shows just how out of touch you are. I know of no teacher who does not put the children first every single day, often at the expense of their own health and well being.

I invite you to come to Room – in ……………  School for a day and walk in my shoes. You can view the individual education plans which pin point each child’s achievement and the goals for each child to overcome their learning barriers. You could witness what it is like to teach five separate mathematics groups and six different reading groups who all need different next step learning. You could see the parent reading programme for struggling readers and the extension writing and mathematics groups which we teach with no finance from your government. You could see our reports which are honest and specific and yet not damaging to the child’s self esteem about their learning.

Your government’s overly simplistic quotes about education are now appearing to be a blaming campaign. I suggest you invite Lester Flockton to Parliament so that you can become better informed about how children learn and how best to facilitate their development as learners. There are many reasons why some children do not succeed as well as other children; dyslexia, cognitive delay, autism, and family issues being only a small fraction of the barriers to learning which we need to help the children overcome.

I suggest you use the ERO information which is already collected to create a list of schools identified as not assessing adequately. You could then give these schools the support they require to improve their practice and let the schools documented as assessing and scaffolding the children’s progress in a satisfactory manner to get on with their excellent work.

Being made to implement ill informed and unnecessary change will divert teachers from their main goal – putting the children first.

Yours faithfully

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