Time_in_Schools.png
So how do you manage your time in schools? What model do you use to work out how much time to spend on each site and who you work with at each school? What has and hasn't worked so well?

In Tai o Rapuwai cluster we tried a 'many pronged' approach to try and reach all teachers with PD. We ran a lead teacher programme which prepared these teachers for leading the school in ICT and supporting their colleagues. We ran 'opt in' techie and pedagogy workshops available for all teachers to attend. And we spent one day in each school per term (taking into account the size of the schools) and one staff meeting per term. This way we were guaranteed to work with every teacher in the cluster at least once a term and meet individual needs.

In the Petone Foreshore Cluster, we used a formula to work out how long I would spend in each school. We used the number of teachers in each school as the basis of the formula and then worked out how many teaching blocks I had available in the term and therefore how much time I could allow for each teacher. This gave the result of 45 minutes per teacher in our cluster. The schools then decided how to use this allocation. Some schools have only a smaller number of teachers working with me each term but for an hour and a half. Other schools matched the release to increase the time or had two or more relievers on the same day so that teachers could be released to work with me in pairs/ threes. This flexibility has worked well. Having these sessions has really helped to bring up the general level of ICT knowledge by teachers. I now use an online booking form for teachers to fill in before I see them so that I can be prepared for the sessions. This has made a big difference this year to my sanity! I also offer to run at least one staff meeting a term in each school but not all schools take me up on this.

In the Flaxmere Cluster, we have three advantages: the cluster is geographically very close - the five schools all sit within 3 km of each other (4 of them within 1.5 km); the facilitator has already worked with all five schools so was known and welcome; we had a professional development training room already set up, capble of working 15 staff at a time. The proximity factor means I can respond to any school any time, and that I can bring teachers from each of the schools to a training venue with ease. An initial get-up-and-go skills programme was met with hug support and we achieved thousands of training hours across the cluster. I ran over 300 workshops. This was the easy bit. What has been a little harder to achieve is to actively grow individual teachers in their classrooms. I do spend each morning in one of the five schools. I ask Principals and Lead Teachers to direct me to points of need, but most often I end up finding the points of need myself. I expect to be received professionally and with good welcome in any room at any time, and this has worked well. Staff have seen that I am there entirely for them and their teaching, and that I do not pose a threat in any way. Staff know that they can ask me to assist with anything, and if I can do it, I will. If I can't do it, I will quickly source someone who can. Of course there are occasional times when it is not useful to stay, but I never leave the teacher empty handed, even if it is just to acknowledge something I have seen that's really good in that classroom. Occasionally the only thing I do in a room is fix a small technical hitch. I strongly distance myself from being the fixer of all ills at schools, but I know that a quick response to a small problem can alleviate huge frustration, and it helps when I come back next time.
I rarely run a workshop just for a particular school. I always try to involve interested people from each of the cluster schools, and this has helped hugely to grow a sense of sharing and common purpose in our teacher community. I also spread the larger events around each of the schools so that everyone gets a chance to view each others facilities.
Actively strengthening relationships and growing community has given me the ability to spend extensive time in each of my schools.