Reflections from NAPP PLG 2

Being very honest, I have not done nearly enough for NAPP since the Hui in the holidays. There have been so many other things to do (Oh my goodness ALL the things) that it just kept getting put into the next week pile. EVERY WEEK. When the PLG day rolled around, my first thought was ARGHHHHHH – I am already out 2 days that week. We have ERO the week after. I’m off to Wellington. And then sadly I am heading home for a funeral this week now too. Life just keeps getting bigger right now…

So despite all of the other things, it was really good to have the day set aside to focus on it, regroup and get re-energised. To have TIME to think about what I am doing, where I am trying to go and TIME to talk to other people about projects and ideas and ponderings. To have TIME to listen to others and their experiences, and TIME to learning new things.

The most valuable session (to my mind) was listening to a newish principal about their experience. I can’t share the full story, but there were certainly some challenges and it was a very warts and all story that was told. The points that stuck out for me where

  1. When you apply for a job, the BoT/School want you to
    1. have all of the strengths of the previous person
    2. none of their weaknesses
    3. Solve problems instantly….
    4. without creating new problems
    5. AND be great on stage at prize giving.

So just be yourself – no point in every trying to be what they want, cause then you need to be that person. Which is impossible when you are under constant pressures.

2. Every school is full of people, and people are messy. But they are your greatest asset. Treat them like you want to be treated and build relationships with them – this will make hard conversations easier.

3. If you want your school to be a safe place to make mistakes, model it. Make a mistake on purpose if you have to – and acknowledge, apologies, wear the egg and fix it

4. Look after yourself. NO-ONE else can do this.

They also shared an amazing quote which is mixing in with my nautical themed NAPP experience so far


Which is awesome. Don’t get bogged down in the small stuff, and don’t tell people what to do, let people find their way to change.

With all the challenges and down times, this person still thought that leading a school and a community was ‘magic’.

We also had a really good session on finance. I am mindblown about how much of this (what I consider CRAP) Principals have to deal with. Staffing, op budgets, donations, PTA, buildings, taxes, expensese…. it went on and on and on…..

What I took out of this (other than a confirmed belief I NEVER actually want to be a principal under the current model…..) is that there is not enough money EVER. So I do need to think more about the price of things compared to their value. What is value for money? What is value for students? teachers? The community?

Linked to this is that you can’t actually MAKE parents pay for anything. Eg workbooks – you can’t make students and parents pay. Because you could still teach using refill paper and a white board. You can’t make students bring a device, because you could do it with refill paper and a white board. This ‘default’ learning setting of bare bones needs to change. Bare bones should not be teacher delivery, student writing in silence. Student deserve better. But really, this is a whole other blog post…..

So it was a very worthwhile day away from school. And once I get back from the funeral, and once ERO is out of the way, and once I am back from Wellington next week (I am talking to TELA….) I must make time to go back and really invest in the readings and re connect with my coaching buddy. I need to get on and document my inquiry so I don’t get to the end of the year and find I haven’t got anywhere.

So another big thing I got out of this day is that there are sooooo many things. To hear, to read, to listen to, to watch, to discuss and to do. I often lament my students lack of prioritising. Perhaps because I am so woefully inept myself 🙂 I need to be more purposeful around my NAPP inquiry to ensure it remains meaningful, useful and FUN.

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