During these somewhat trying times I wish to acknowledge and congratulate school leaders on their massive contribution to student learning. The COVID-19 era seems to remain with us not withstanding the best efforts of New Zealand’s medical personnel.
In my contact with early childhood, school and tertiary leaders it has become evident that many of these committed leaders are finding the current times stressful. This is not solely because of Covid. It is apparent that the administrative and managerial tasks have become particularly onerous, requiring more and more time to be devoted to this area of school leadership and management at the expense of learning and strategic development. In addition, Principals are offering multiple narratives around matters of values, behaviour, commitment to learning that impact on their ability to complete everyday tasks.
Leaders are often strategic beings. Effective leadership requires commitment and courage. As Robert Anthony once commented: “The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity.”
The social, economic and educational world around us is changing. This is where our principals and their leadership teams are applying their best efforts in order to develop and maintain the relevance of schooling in a changing order. They are the direction and trend setters - sometimes in an environment of increasing accountability but decreasing support. Nonetheless, they continue to strive for excellence in supporting their staff and learners.
I wish to acknowledge the tremendous work done by leaders in all sectors of our education system. The nature and extent of the work being undertaken is amazing, especially in those areas where change is mandated, such as the impending changes to the NCEA system and those areas where the change is less obvious, such as the move to innovative learning models and the acknowledgement that there are different ways of learning and being... and what about those areas in which their work is often unseen and perhaps intangible?
As the work of school leadership continues, and the personal and organisational stresses take their toll, we all need to look to our colleagues and offer support where we can: this might be a helping hand, encouragement, support of any kind and a willingness to listen.
I wish all our leaders well, and offer my grateful thanks for your commitment!