Random Bits


     Treehorn Everychild was the hero of a book by Florence Parry Heide: The Shrinking of Treehorn. When he was severely afflicted, worried and puzzled, the adults closest to him – parents, bus-driver, teacher, principal – preferred to ignore him. They had other things to do. The conclusion to the book is dramatic. He had lost faith in all adults. Then, when his skin started to turn a violent green, he had adjudged by then that adults don’t care about school kids in particular …..and the book concludes : “Treehorn sighed. ‘I don’t think I’ll tell anyone.’ he thought to himself. “If I don’t say anything, they won’t notice.’” 

Do you know how your child feels at NAPLAN time?  Do you care?

 Random Bits

 Some news items from here and there.

 Here’s some comments from School Principals [with thanks to Ray A.]

So in NSW, students must achieve marks of more than 80 in three subjects, including English, to be accepted into a teaching degree. The trouble with arbitrary cut-off points is that they are just that – arbitrary. Why 80, rather than 78 or 82? It sounds like decisions are being based on round numbers, without any valid basis. I had a pretty ordinary year12. Emotionally immature and with family issues, I had trouble relating to Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters in early 19th century England. Our teacher thought that accomplishment could only happen in the finer arts and I consistently received a ‘C’ for my Pride and Prejudice essays. So I received 78 for English. Fast forward 30-odd years and it is fair to say I have had a pretty successful teaching career. Not every lesson has been brilliant and I did not handle every situation as I should have, with hindsight. But the successes have far outweighed the failures. I know I have helped many former students on their way, through my love of science and geography. But in the world of arbitrary cut-offs, I would not have been admitted to my degree. Surely performance during the teaching course and practice should be the determination of a “suitability to teach”.

Ralph Judd, Blackburn

Pay teachers well if you want the brightest

There is no need for a “final hurdle test”

Nearly 50 years on, what’s changed?

As a humanities student at a university in Canada in 1968 (48years ago), the awful “tick-box” computer exams (Letters, 16/8) were well and truly present. Even if a student vehemently disagreed with the pre-determined answer to a question, you had no scope to argue your case. The computer did not care and you knew it.

Mara Hayler, Darley

for students before they graduate as teachers, Education Minister, James Merlino. just look at teachers’ pay and the endless political interference in their work. Smart people do not apply for teaching courses when other professions are better paid and respected.

Andrew Ferguson, Mount Dandenong

“My number 3 daughter and her husband, both in their mid thirties, are wanting to get out of the department. He’s Secondary Science and she’s Primary. 

They reckon the ever increasing level of bullshit paperwork and lack of executive support has taken all the joy out of teaching.

 When a business executive, sneeringly asked a teacher what she makes, she replied….

 “I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologise and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them how to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn’t


I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in maths. They use their God given brain,

not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know

about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe and secure.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use

the gifts they were  given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.”

(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

“Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, I can hold my head up

high and pay no attention because they are so ignorant.

You want to know what I make? I make a difference in all your lives,

educating your kids and preparing them to become CEO’s, and doctors and

engineers. What do you make, Mr. CEO?”

 Why is a Politician, especially the slower one who supports NAPLAN,  like a tortoise on a fence post ?

 You know he did not get up there by himself, he does not belong up there, he does not know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb arse put him up there to begin with. “

 180 or 360?

In a recent ‘’Treehorn’, I mentioned that I had done a complete 180 when I had my epiphany moment, and changed from a testucating child-abusive primary principal to a rabid opponent of all forms of blanket testing, one principal corrected me. I had done a 360, she said. She is correct.  Sorry Sam.

 Another wrote that he had found the moral compass that school principals threw away in 2008.  He’s a new-age principal and wasn’t around then.  He reckons that he found it in the truck that Julia used to herd his colleagues into her love-test paddock; and  duly returned the photo from The Treehorn Express: Party Promises on 23 June….

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.21.59 PM 

 Most parliaments have resumed. On the federal scene, true-blue educators anxiously awake the first steps by the Labor Party ; to have “….every single child in every single classroom have their learning needs met, because investing in our classrooms is investing in our future.”

Please Laborites, get on with the task. Start screaming about the deleterious effects of NAPLAN.  Give it to them.

Please Libs/NPs, beat them to the task. Do it now, before the NAPLAN SEASON starts….soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s