LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 2 | 2022

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Conference address by Professor Don Klinger

Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou katoa, 

I am Professor Don Albert Klinger, and I am the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Te Wānanga Toi Tangata Division of Education at the University of Waikato. It is my honour to welcome you to our beautiful campus on Tainui lands. I also want to thank the New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society for choosing to hold its conference here at Te Whare Wānanga O Waikato University of Waikato.

As you may know, we are the largest teacher education and professional development provider in Aotearoa New Zealand, and our academic and professional staff have amazing national and international reputations. And dare I say it, our former students, who are working across the country, are equally amazing.  As a result we are well attuned to what is happening nationally and internationally.

This is a challenging time for education. International surveys are citing substantial declines in student achievement. Educators are reporting high levels of stress and burnout. The international media seems to be focused on “the quality of the education workforce.” As one example, a recent study in Australia of 65000 print media articles about teaching found that negative stories about teachers and “teacher bashing” were the norm.

It is no wonder we are having increasing difficulty in attracting promising educators into the profession and into leadership roles. And as we all know, we are fortunate to work in perhaps the most remarkable and influential profession.

As educator and former NASA engineer Ryan Fuller notes, Teaching is not rocket science….   It is harder.

Or as I like to say, if teaching was easy, we would call it medicine.

My challenge to you and to all of us who have leadership roles in education is to remember that our collective work requires highly skilled and educated individuals who need to be able to quickly adapt to changing contexts.

At its core, teaching and educational administration and leadership is a learning profession and I am glad we here at the University of Waikato can be part of the initial and ongoing educational journey.

Ngā mihi

Professor Don A. Klinger
Pro Vice-Chancellor 
Te Wānanga Toi Tangata - Division of Education
Te Whare Wānanga O Waikato - University of Waikato