Teaching council candidate - Patrick Walsh
What do you think the teaching council’s main priorities should be for the next three years?
The priorities for the new teaching council should be ‘raising the status’ of the teaching profession. This includes strong advocacy for teachers, setting a high benchmark for entry into pre-service education providers, ensuring the programmes are relevant to classroom practice and celebrating the role of teachers in society.
Providing high quality, professional development to teachers, reducing the compliance around registration and supporting teachers to manage students needing learning support, including those with challenging behaviors.
What experience do you have that would make you a good fit for this role?
I have taught from decile one to decile seven schools, and have extensive experience in governance, including ten years on the SPANZ executive, including three as president, former chair of the NZ Law Society, seminars on education law and current chair of SIEBA.
I have written numerous books and given seminars to teachers on how to avoid the many legal fish-hooks they face. I have always been a strong and effective advocate for the teaching profession at a school and national level.
Are you a PPTA member, and if so, how have you been involved in PPTA?
I am not a member of PPTA but an active member of the Secondary Principals Union (SPANZ Union), including two terms as president. I have been part of the negotiating team for SPANZ Union in the last three collective agreements. I firmly believe that union plays a vital and necessary role not only in protecting the working conditions of teachers but also in promoting the status of the profession. I am on public record supporting teachers in the current collective agreement.
As a principal, I know that teachers are our greatest asset which in the current teacher crisis is eroding the quality of our education system.
What is the main thing that the council should be doing to raise the status of the teaching profession?
Teacher workload is creating low morale, stress and burnout. It is leading to serious recruitment and retention problems, including a large number of provisionally registered teachers exiting the profession.
The key task of the teachers council is to conduct research and consult the teaching profession on how to create classroom conditions that will allow teachers to do their job more affectively and thus improve learning outcomes for students. This includes work on class size, mentoring, access to specialist advisors, reducing assessment and compliance.
Tell us about your career and why you are a secondary principal
There is nothing more worthwhile and inspiring than to be able to shape and influence the lives of young people. At times it is very challenging but ultimately rewarding to see students emerge from school well qualified, confident and seeking to make a positive difference in the world.
I was a primary trained teacher and have taught at Manurewa Intermediate, Rosmini College, De La Salle College, Mangere and for the last fifteen years, as principal of John Paul College, Rotorua.
As a principal, I see my main task is to create the best possible conditions for my teachers to excel in their classrooms. In this high trust environment, you empower the professionals to get on with the job.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
There are major reforms ahead for the secondary school sector which will directly impact on teachers and principals. I want to ensure that during this reform process, including NCEA and Tomorrows Schools, that the value and care of teachers is centre stage and a top priority.
If the teaching profession is further eroded it will negatively impact on our students. I want to ensure this does not happen.
A full list of secondary principal candidates is available on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website (educationcouncil.org.nz)