Teaching council candidate - Janelle McKenzie
What do you think the teaching council’s main priorities should be for the next three years?
I believe the biggest task the council has is helping guide the Ministry of Education in a direction that will help and sustain teachers. With the review of the education system happening, making sure ‘our’ voice is heard is really important. Smaller class sizes, qualified teachers, and appropriate and sufficient supports for both teachers and students is also vital.
What experience do you have that would make you a good fit for this role?
I have had experience teaching in both secondary and primary schools. I have undergone leadership training for an early childhood centre, been a parent representative on a board of trustees, and been a principal in two different schools. This has provided me with a very broad view of education – both the good and the not so good. I have also completed extensive studies in education, culminating in my doctorate which was based around performance management and appraisal – an area about which I am passionate.
Are you a PPTA member, and if so, how have you been involved in PPTA?
I am currently a PPTA member. During my career I have been a member of NZEI, SPANZ and PPTA, depending on the role I had at the time. I have attended numerous PPTA PD sessions and benefited greatly from these. PPTA has also been invaluable for advice and guidance at different times which has helped me and others with whom I worked.
What is the main thing that the council should be doing to raise the status of the teaching profession?
The council needs to be proactive in ensuring that teaching is seen as a positive and desirable profession through the promotion of success stories. Alongside this the performance management and appraisal processes across all educational sectors needs to show rigour and relevance both to the profession and to the public sector to ensure confidence for all. The council needs to support teachers in ‘owning’ the appraisal process and for it to have meaning in the day to day practice in classrooms.
Tell us about your teaching career and why you are a secondary teacher?
I went into teaching with the clear goal that I wanted to make a difference to the children I taught. This has remained a strong guiding force over the years. I love to learn and want to pass that love on to my students. I want to help them realise that anything is possible if you approach it in the right way. I love to see the spark ignite and their confidence grow.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Developing a strong relationship with teenagers/students (and their whanau/family) is critical – it’s hard work but worth it! Once the relationship is there the learning becomes easier (most of the time!). I believe this area is one of my skills. I also have a significant understanding of the impact of learning difficulties and differences as my own daughter is mentally disabled. Having a child like her has helped me to relate to other families and their students and make their learning in class less stressful.
A full list of secondary teaching candidates is available on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website (educationcouncil.org.nz)