Thursday, August 30, 2007

Resourcing not spin

Thursday, 30 August 2007, 1:31 pm
Press Release: PPTA
Resourcing not spin

More resourcing for secondary teachers and less spin from the Ministry of Education will go along way towards settling the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, PPTA president Robin Duff said today.

Its first piece of spin was to suggest teachers have had pay increases of 30% since 2000. Pay increases have been between 19.7 and 21.9%, roughly the rate of inflation.

“The 30% is a false figure based on total average earnings* that the Ministry will not use during bargaining so why is it using that figure in the public?”

“The second piece of spin is to use 2000 as a baseline for teacher salaries when an alternative disputes resolution panel found in 2002 that teachers had been grossly underpaid. That panel awarded teachers a salary catch up 12% well in excess of the government’s offer of 3%.

“A Ministerial Taskforce in 2003 said that teacher salaries should keep pace with other workers.

“PPTA’s claim is simply a catch up and maintains salary rates against inflation and other wage and salary earners, as suggested by the Ministerial Taskforce.

“It’s not just about pay though. It’s about improving conditions to attract and retain the very best teachers, reducing class sizes so that every student has adequate time with their teacher, encouraging more people into senior and middle management roles and supporting the part-timers in our schools.

“The claim moves towards restoring some of the recruitment and retention gains made by the arbitrated ADR settlement in 2003 but will not meet the recruitment demands of the current employment market for skilled graduates and trades people.

“It is a very reasonable and very fair claim. It does not include compensation for the more demanding work for classroom teachers generated by the introduction of the NCEA and other government initiatives, or for the failure of the government and the ministry to address the problems of secondary teacher workload identified by the ACER report (2004).

“The disingenuous comments made by the Ministry today will simply have got teachers backs up.”


* Basically this includes teachers who have gained extra qualifications, thus moving up the pay scale, and teachers who take on extra responsibilities and thus receive management units and allowances. The number of MU's etc have increased, but this doesn't help the pay rate of the average classroom teacher.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Moviefest Me

Looking forward to hearing how the film goes, and being able to share it on Youtube. I think it's the tenth short film Debbie and I have been involved with in the past two and a half years?

Wonderful Library (48 Hours 2005)
Monster Hunter IV (48 Hours 2006)
Life Lesson 12 (Moviefest 2006)
Teach Him A Lesson (Moviefest 2006)
With Mighty Power (Moviefest 2006)
Behind the Reality (Practice film for 48 Hours 2007)
To Miss With Love (48 Hours 2007)
Princess Consuela (Moviefest 2007)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Very Quick Movie Review

Code 46, starring Tim Robbins.


Weekends are teh best

Ah, the delightfulness that is a weekend. I managed to sleep in until 6.45am, sloth about in bed until 7.45, then get up and go for a slow, short jog.

OK, not as sedentary a start to a weekend as I might have preferred (I do like my sleep-ins to be longer than a regular working day), but it feels good to have got up and got some fresh air, and there are many hours of day to enjoy.

There is no school ball this weekend. No filming needs to be done for any competitions. There is no writing challenge on at the moment. No meetings for Kapcon. It's a pleasantly quiet weekend, with just 80 or 90 tests and stories to mark.

The quiet life :)

I have been enjoying the discussion around women in gaming that's been happening on the internets this week. I particularly enjoy the perspective provided by the fact that my all-boy teen gaming squad was pretty maladjusted and wouldn't have been female friendly as it existed (this was never tested, so I am left only to speculate about how our behaviour might have changed if it hadn't been a boys club), but as I've grown up I've managed to become a less prejudiced and socially awkward person. My recent gaming experiences have been both balanced in terms of gender and conduct.

Having been a stupid teenage boy (not by any means the worst of my breed, but in retrospect pretty spazzy at times) means I have a first-hand awareness of just how dumb and self-important teenboys can be. And that there is hope for them to change. I remember the black-and-white clarity of teenboy-logic which saw any positive prejudice (like grants and scholarships etc.) as wildly unfair, which thought the idea of a women's room was a weird and unnecessary one (though a parents' room would be fine), and which viewed with disdain the notion of 'womens' studies'.

Fourteen was probably the ugliest age for these sentiments in myself and my peer group.

They didn't last, thankfully. Nor did the odd moral certitude I had at the time that killing people who were bullying you would be justifiable, but inadvisable due to the likely consequences. Seriously - I remember asking myself whether it was right, and whether it was practical, and fell short of murder on the practicality front (and, of course, on the actually being violent front. I may have had intellectually reprehensible morals, but my actions as a teenboy were entirely standard, and I found violence in the real world (as opposed to horror movies and conjecture) quite repulsive).

So - I was a spazz when I was a teenager (not the whole time, but I can clearly remember moments of stupidity), but I like to think I'm relatively well adjusted now. This means I can look back and see where I've come from, and have hope that even quite offensive or highly prejudiced people can change, if their brains and morals develop. I think that development in my case was part of growing up, so it might be harder to arrange in an older person, but is still (I hope) possible.

NOTE: Yes, I am saying that my morals are better than those of other people. This is just my opinion and agenda, but it's one that is largely promoted (or at least given lip service) in NZ: racism/sexism = bad, social engineering to break poverty cycles/encourage equality = good

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Movie Done

Moviefest 2007 movie all finished - now I just have to sort out getting it in the post tomorrow :)

I'm quite happy with how it's turned out: 5 minutes of very silly material about a deceased princess, with some fun performances and a fast pace. Quite a good result relative to the amount of work it took to put it together.

One more day to the weekend!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Baby's First Bookcase

So we now have a nursery room more or less set up - with the first piece of furniture we paid for having finally arrived. We've got a tall bookshelf, a 6 drawer chest-of-drawers, and a cot all set up. The chest o drawers doesn't quite match the bookshelf yet - one is white with blue, the other white with yellow - but once it's swapped over in September all will be well.

It's quite exciting, really. As is the fact that, all going well, we'll be parents by the end of the year.

In other news, I'm putting together an application this weekend for an HOD job at my school. I'm by no means the front-runner, but one only gets the opportunity to apply for these jobs once in a while, and it may be ten or more years before the position comes up again, so I should really apply now to show I'm interested, if nothing else. The current HOD told me I should apply during our appraisal meeting, so that was a nice encouragement.

Other things - dinner is almost ready. That's good. We plan to do a bit more Moviefest filming this weekend, which should also be good. I have a huge pile of marking to do. Not so good.

Lastly, I just finished reading 'A Clockwork Orange' (mostly whilst walking to and from school), and I have to say it's a very good book, and one which quite thoroughly ear-wormed me for a while after I finished it. The nadsat (teenage) slang is quite something, and reminded me of first year Russian back at uni...

"And so it would itty on to like the end of the world, round and round and round, like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck, like old Bog Himself (by courtesy of Korova Milkbar) turning and turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Incremental Progress

Things are ticking along at the moment. The ball was this weekend, and I went to the start of it to help out with filming stuff. It was really nice to see the arrival of a student who is in recovery for a broken neck making an appearance, accompanied by the Rocky theme music.

I assembled one of the most exciting pieces of kitset furniture ever yesterday - a cot which Debbie's mum very generously bought for us this weekend. It only had 5 pieces (2 ends, a base and 2 sides) so it wasn't the most difficult kit-set assemblage ever, but the instructions being sans illustrations meant I had to think about it more than I usually do :)

School continues to be school, with all the associated stress and work. 'Nuff said, really.

Debbie and I are both doing well - I think, after about 8 weeks, that I might be starting to get over the cold I picked up last term. I heard a student say that their GP had diagnosed them with 'The 100 Day Flu', which made me a little nervous. Of course, more often than not students are unreliable sources of information, but whatever this cold is it is persistent.

Time now to go watch the second half of 'Persuasion', and try to warm up under a blankie. And maybe have a hot drink...

Ahh! The cat just licked my beard! Crazy cat....

Monday, August 13, 2007

3d Baby Picture, CCAM

We had a bit of a stressful week last week. After our 20 week scan on Monday our midwife called to say there might be something wrong with the baby's heart, or the position of it. We had to wait until Friday (and a 2 hour long ultrasound marathon) to find out that it's not a heart problem, but rather cysts in the right lung.

It will need to be monitored, but at the moment it's likely to be a minor concern only. Bubs may need an operation to remove the tissue at 3-6 months. It can be a lot worse, but based on the 20 week (actually now more like 22 weeks) scan it looks like a mild case.

One side effect of having to go into Wellington Hospital for the follow-up scan was that we got a 3d scan of the baby - it was pretty good, not perfect, but worth posting:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How not to settle a class

Teacher: Right class, we need to get stuck into this quickly because I have to disappear off to Pacific Radiology at twelve.

Student: Oh, what have you done mister?

Teacher: Impregnated my wife.

*About a quarter of the class descends into hysterics, shocked laughter, mumbled comments about "I thought he'd say he twisted his ankle or something" and occasional congratulations and thumbs-up signs*

Teacher: As I was saying, we need to get straight to work on this...

I knew the effect my carefully chosen words would create, but I just couldn't resist...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Sweet Ride

Last week Debbie and I became the proud new owners of a very nice family car (courtesy of Ma trading up). It's a '98 Renault Scenic, and it's a great family vehicle - plenty of room, liftback, bolt for child seat, and not too bad on fuel economy to boot.

It is a sweet ride. Now we just need to get the Honda Civic warranted and registered and list it on Trademe. Anyone interested in a cheap 1990 automatic honda civic?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Terrifying racism

I was thoroughly shocked when a google search for 'porangi maori dictionary' (trying to find the definition of a word in Potiki by Patricia Grace) turned up a tirade of racist abuse on Seriously - definitions of the word Maori contain some horrendous abuse.

Of scary note is my suspicion that a kid I taught last year wrote one of the definitions. I am going to try to launch a Sherlock Holmes investigation to see if he did.