Kia ora whanau
This week I would like to reflect on the value of teachers. The next few months are going to be an interesting and possibly disrupted time in education as the NZEI and the PPTA bargain with the government in their respective collective agreement contract rounds.
The staffing shortage is not only further north. In the south too, there is a significant lack of applicants for vacant positions and many principals are having to find very creative ways to staff classes. It makes me very happy to hear students say that they would like to enter a teaching career because, although it can be very challenging and many work very long hours into the evening and weekends, the personal rewards are enormous. Teaching is a vocation; and rather than criticising and undermining teachers, it is important to value those who choose to spend their lives in this profession working hard for your children and their futures. I would like to acknowledge five of our local teaching colleagues who have passed away in the last few months – Murray Cooper, Neil and Ginny Winefield, Brent Crawford, and Glenis Gray. Each of these people have shaped the lives of the young people of Eastern Southland and have been special colleagues and valued members of our profession. Please pray for their families as they come to terms with their passing.
Some principals and community members from our area attended the government’s Education Summit held in Christchurch last weekend. Those of us who have been in the game for a while know that constant change in education is inevitable and that can be a good thing if it contributes to schools having a culture of continual improvement for its students’ learning. No doubt you will have seen plenty in the media about potential changes to education. As parents of the recipients of this education, please take time to comment via the online survey which can be found at https://conversation.education.govt.nz/
Last year we sent all families a pastoral newsletter that discussed our concerns over the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. This week we received the following information from the Ministry of Education and I would like to share this important information with you:
“You may recall the public discussion generated by last year’s Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Season two will be released worldwide on Friday 18 May. This show was widely watched by teenagers last year. Themes of suicide, sexual assault, consent, bullying and other issues made some viewers feel distressed and in need of support. Similar and equally confronting themes will be present in season two. In the lead-up to the release, some young people may re-watch the first season, or watch it for the first time.
Young people feel the show represents the issues they face. Banning or recommending a ban on viewing it can be harmful, as young people will still watch it but feel they have to hide that from adults. The issues raised in the series are significant and offer a good opportunity to talk to our young people about these difficult life events – but it is important that those conversations are safe ones. We are working with other agencies to ensure information is available to support and encourage safe conversations between young people and their parents, or another trusted adult, if they view this series. Some of this information is already available on the resource hub on the Mental Health Foundation website. Additional support material will be added to this hub prior to 18 May.”
We have a strong pastoral network at St Peter’s College and we are very willing to talk with families and individuals who may need support at any time. Please feel free at any time to contact school and discuss any concerns. We have attached some suggested conversation starters for you to have at home with your teenager about this series if they are watching it, and a list of people to contact should you have any concerns.
May the mystery of God enfold us, May the wisdom of God uphold us,
May the fragrance of God be around us and may the brightness of God surround us.
Joy Cowley (Psalms Down-Under)
Finally, I wish all our mothers a very happy day on Sunday. You are all doing a wonderful job!
Nga mihi nui