What does professional time mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

Over the years, our professional time (non-contact/teacher research time) has been eroded. There is less and less time for us to meet together as a whole teaching team to discuss children’s learning, and to engage in robust professional discussion that contributes to our inquiry, professional growth cycles, and ultimately outcomes for tamariki.

As a teacher, I believe in providing a high quality teaching and learning environment that promotes positive outcomes for tamariki, fostering their ability to lead their own learning, and develop and deepen their learner identities. This requires time. Time for pedagogical discussions, time to write high quality Learning Stories that show progress and continuity of learning, time to research and inquire and to engage in professional development that enhances our learning as kaiako.

Much of our professional time is taken up with mundane paperwork that does not positively impact children, with increasingly less time for doing the things that actually matter.

Providing time for teachers to engage in high quality assessment practices and pedagogical discussions as a team is wise practice. It is what directly contributes to an equitable and high quality curriculum, which is what Te Whāriki advocates for.

What will it take to fix the limitations on professional time?

More funding to be available so that Kindergarten Associations are not encouraged to extend the Kindergarten days (length). Also more funding for teacher release time for teachers in associations that have gone full year (or a shift back to the traditional kindergarten day model).

When we fix professional time, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

It will ensure that ALL tamariki in Kindergartens across Aotearoa are provided with high quality education with teachers who are not suffering from burnout.

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