Taupo-nui-a-Tia teachers treated
Imagine coming to school and receiving each day a message from your Board thanking you for what you do accompanied by delectable coffee, chocolate, icecream and other treats?
Well, that was the kind of week that staff at Taupo-nui-a-Tia College experienced earlier this year, as Omicron was breaking out all over the motu.
Just like Christmas
“We were treated to coffee on the first day, followed by a sea of blue Lindt chocolates in our pigeon holes on Tuesday, muffins and ice cream on Wednesday, a healthy fruit salad on Thursday and finally on Friday, a choice of a bottle of sav blanc, rosé or pinot gris – all beautifully wrapped. What a week! It was like Xmas,” says Maria Heaslip, the staff representative on the Taupo-nui-a-Tia Board of Trustees (BoT).
“The staff particularly enjoyed, and some were brought to tears by, the kind words every morning posted to them. Staff truly appreciated the gifts and the acknowledgement.”
Acting principal Richard Murphy says the week was fantastic. “As a school, we are constantly reflecting upon our practice and striving to provide better outcomes for our students. At times, that constant desire for improvement can lead to the feeling of unfulfillment and it is incredibly important to celebrate the successes. After the challenges of 2021, with the lockdown coming at a time that was incredibly disruptive for NCEA outcomes, to have our Board initiate this week of gestures was a pleasant surprise and warmly received.”
Valuing unseen work
The week was the brainchild of BoT member Kylie Leonard and fellow Board member Karl Bishop created the messages that were sent to staff each morning.
Richard Murphy says the messages recognised the work that staff often think is undervalued and not seen. “Such as that phone call to give positive feedback to the whānau of a priority learner.
“The week also brought the whole staff together, with all support staff included. I think the thought given to recognise our grounds staff, teaching assistants, office team, health services, and canteen staff made a real impact in building a positive school community.
Positive role modelling
“While a Board is only a small selection of parents, the positive role modelling to the students of how teachers are valued by a community permeated through the school. Greater appreciation was clearly evident. Perhaps being able to purchase from Mr Whippy at Monday lunchtime after the staff received their ice creams, was the most exciting thing for students.”
Richard Murphy said a significant number of staff and students had caught Omicron and a large number were also forced to isolate. “Staff, in particular, were flexible and adapted to meet the needs of students through cover and adjusting courses.
“As in previous outbreaks, our standard practice for all courses was to have Google classrooms. All teachers were asked to post resources and instructions in Google classroom. They were then encouraged to use this as the primary resource in their physical classrooms to encourage efficiency and coherency for the students in school and at home. We chose not to use Zoom or similar tools as we wanted to keep things simple and encourage students to be in school as much as possible.“