PPTA President

Image Angela Roberts PPTA president 2013-2014

News and views from PPTA president Angela Roberts.

Includes the PPTA News viewpoint and his responses to various education issues raised in the media.

(Angela began her presidency mid January 2013)



We need teacher activists in our schools

PPTA president Angela Roberts muses on the professional and political tensions of teacher activism.

We need you, activists

Over the summer I attended the funeral of Ida Gaskin who served as PPTA president in 1977. Hearing the tributes to her from former students, PPTA colleagues and political allies got me thinking, as it should.

Schools are political because teaching matters

What goes on in our classrooms is deeply political. This is because what we do, what we achieve, or fail to achieve, is so important — not just because of the impact it has on the lives of the individual students that we are charged with teaching, but for our nation and all of our futures.

This is an inconvenient fact for most of us in the teaching profession. Most of us simply want to be given the professional autonomy and the professional support to get on with doing our best. Our goal is to be able to respond appropriately to each of the needs of each of our students so they can enjoy learning and success. Unfortunately it too often feels that the politics gets in the way of reaching that goal.

Political motivations can run counter to professional teaching practice

The way that politics interferes with our professional lives can be quite unhelpful at times.

The "85% NCEA Level 2" mantra is something that the minister of education says is simply part of a national conversation about reaching the Better Public Service targets. However, whether intended or not, this target infiltrates the departmental and course planning, student choices, whānau conversations, and teacher appraisals, and not always for the good of the student. It can lead to short term decisions that are about improving "passes" to reach the target that the government has clearly shown is their focus and priority rather than giving students the space to develop strong pathways that lead to achievement, lifelong learning, and successful citizens.