It's great to be able to return "home" to Kia Aroha College in a completely different capacity and to have the discussions that, as a busy principal, often get crowded out by all your other responsibilities and demands on your time. It's a bit like thoroughly enjoying time with your grandchildren, then handing them back to their parents to do the hard work day-to-day!
I have spent the last two days working with team leaders and senior leadership team members, developing action plans from the appraisal goals we have established together over the last couple of professional development visits. As always, the challenge is ensuring that teacher goals include critical, culturally responsive practice - not just literacy, but critical literacy, for example. How do you align the requirements of NCEA with critical pedagogy and culturally-centred practice? How, in the frantic end-of-year push to complete assessment requirements do you remember it's Maori, Samoan, and Tongan FIRST? How does the development of a strong secure cultural identity not become marginalised by those ever encroaching White spaces that dominate and determine what counts as knowledge and what is valued by the Ministry of Education?
The very cool thing is that I can pose all those challenging questions, and leave, completely confident in the principal and senior leadership team's passion and commitment to continue and extend the conversation into innovative critical practice.