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Time to focus on the profession

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Media Release

1 February 2005

Time to focus on the profession

PPTA’s new president Debbie Te Whaiti wants secondary teachers to play a bigger part in the professional debates around secondary education.

Mrs Te Whaiti, a guidance counsellor at Makoura College in Masterton, took up her role today.

She has been the Association’s junior vice president for two years and in 2003 represented PPTA on the Ministerial Taskforce of Secondary Teacher Remuneration whose recommendations helped pave the way for the recent secondary teacher collective agreement settlement.

Mrs Te Whaiti said last year’s agreement ushered in a period of industrial stability and gave teachers more opportunities to focus on the big issues in secondary education today: improving the running of the NCEA, increasing student retention rates and achievement and ensuring that the Government funds schools to enable them to deliver a high quality curriculum to students.

“Until the late 1980s, secondary teachers participated at the forefront of debate about the future of their profession. Now they have a chance to do so again.

“Our challenge is to take up the opportunity this new environment presents and make our mark as professionals with substantial improvements to teaching and learning.

Mrs Te Whaiti said one focus of her work would be ensuring that secondary teachers participated in joint Ministry-PPTA working parties around workload, career pathways, professional development and qualifications.

“Among other things, we’ll consider how a teacher or middle manager’s work can be better structured and supported to make for more effective classroom teaching; what sort of professional development will effectively keep teachers abreast of improvements in educational practice; how career pathways for teachers can be expanded; and how to develop postgraduate practice-based teaching qualifications.

“Ultimately these initiatives will give us opportunities to enhance the work environment for teachers and improve the quality of our state education system.”

Ends

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