Over the past few decades the term ‘Super’ has been used to imply better, superior, improved.
We see and hear about such products advertised on our TV’s every day, but we also see the term used in other contexts.
A ‘Super Power’ suggests security, a ‘Super City’ may indicate efficiency and improved services and
It now seems that the term may be creeping into education. The government
recently announced that they intended to spend $359 million, over the next 4 years, on improving educational outcomes for
all our students. This was initially welcomed by all involved, parents, teachers and educational commentators, until you look
closely at how the money is to be spent.
Schools were hoping for additional teacher
aide support, but no. Perhaps improvements in educational support services, such as educational psychologists, speech language
therapists, literacy teachers or resource teachers for learning & behaviour would help our less fortunate, under achieving
children, but no. The money could go towards reducing class sizes to allow teachers the time to conference with their students,
but no. Surely with all the talk about securing New Zealand’s economic future and continuing this countries innovative
tradition a boost to special programmes to develop gifted and talented students would be an advantage, but no.
The plan is to create four ‘Super Positions’ within schools. The first are Executive Principals who
will oversee 10 schools within an area and will get paid an extra $40,000 a year. The second are Changing Principals who will
be paid an additional $50,000 a year to turn around failing schools. The third are Expert Teachers who will be released for
2 days every week from their schools to work across neighbouring schools and will receive an extra $20,000 a year. Lastly
the position of Lead Teachers, who will be released from their own classroom teaching duties to work within their own school
for an extra $10,000 a year.
There is nothing here which suggests additional resources
for schools, additional professional development for teachers or improved opportunities for students. The notion of ‘Super
Principals’ and ‘Super Teachers’ does nothing for collaborative, team spirit in our profession.
So beware of the term ‘Super’. In reality it often translates to ‘Super Bureaucracy’.Enter