Sometimes, in life, things we love or rely on come to a natural end. Things that we may have valued for years and years and perhaps taken for granted that they will carry on for more years and years, peter out and finish.
Usually the reason things end is because they have reached the end of their use, or, more usually, the structure is no longer fit for purpose. It seems that this is how it is for our current PTS (or PTA as it is more commonly known as). PTAs have been around for decades and are an institution in schools around the world
The VAS PTS has always been the backbone of the school from a friend-raising and fund-raising perspective. Many, many wonderful parents have given so much of their time and energy to ensure that we raise money for school initiatives as well as, more importantly, keep the VAS sense of community alive and well regarded. Now, with our changing lives, people are time poor and there are fewer people who are able to take on PTS activities.
The structure of the PTS has not changed in decades, despite the world changing around us. It has nothing to do with the people who have been on the PTS, nor does it have anything to do with a decreasing feeling of community. I believe it just has to do with the fact that our lives and the way we live has changed. So many of us hold down fulltime jobs and care for families which means that our energy and ability to give time to extra things is limited.
I don’t believe this is the end of the PTS but I do believe that out of the ashes of the current PTS structure, a new type of PTS will emerge. I know that every single family as well as all the staff want to keep our fantastic reputation as being a family friendly and connected community alive. What that looks like moving forward has yet to be determined, but I know that we will continue to have a great sense of community into the future.
So, what does all this mean? The PTS does not have a chairperson from term 4. Shelley Cunningham has been an outstanding PTS chair and she is stepping down. Thank you Shelley, for your enthusiasm, your organisational ability and your passion and commitment to the school and the community. In terms of events, there has not been anyone to organise the Halloween event this year so that won’t be going ahead.
I have a real desire to ensure that the VAS PTS does not fade away into oblivion. In term 1 next year, the week following the Meet the Teachers evening, I will be holding an open forum for people to come along and contribute their ideas as to how and what a new PTS structure will look like moving forward (I am leaving it until then so that we include all the new families to VAS). A structure that is responsive to the needs of our parents as well as taking the busy lives of our parents into consideration. We will focus on what the new structure needs to be in order that people willing to help find the load manageable. We will have a PTS!
As I outlined a few newsletters ago, we have just finished a term which has had a focus on the arts. The art exhibition was the culmination of the term’s work and children all worked very hard on their inquiries around New Zealand artists. It was easy to see how much effort every single child had put into their art which would not have happened without their teachers being behind them, teaching, suggesting, giving feedback, helping. What an amazing standard of artwork! Huge congratulations to Tessa Fastnedge, year 5 teacher who led this initiative and organised it with the help of the arts team. I must admit, I had the luxury of wandering around the exhibition by myself with Charles Sang playing classical music on the piano. It was quite a surreal moment!
What a Great Term
Term 3 is always a difficult term as it is the winter term and many of the children and staff inevitably get colds or the flu. Being the fourth wettest winter on record certainly didn’t help with children being inside during many wet lunch times and the field being out of action for weeks. Teachers however, just carry on regardless, but all of them are ready for a break as are your children.
I outlined a number of our successes in last week’s newsletter. Other highlights this term have been the dance lessons and performance, music concert, visits to the Auckland art gallery, trip up Mt Hobson, speech competitions, sports exchanges and winter field day, cross country, scooter skills and soccer skills.
There is lots of learning still to come in term 4 and we are looking forward to the children coming back fresh after a quiet, calm break.
NZ Principals Federation Conference
Last week I attended the NZPF conference. It was focussed around principal hauora or wellbeing. Some of the take outs for me, some of which I will expand on next term were: the most important choice you make each day? Your attitude. We no longer talk of work – life balance, but of work – life satisfaction. Keep perspective – in one year will this still be important? Avoid DHS (deferred happiness syndrome). I will be happy when…… the weekend comes, the holidays come, I’ve lost weight…… Celebrate failure. 80% of children get their confidence from other children’s approval. Why? Because they are not getting it from the important adults in their life. Self esteem in children comes from the adults in their life validating their thoughts and opinions. Let people know how much they mean to you. Eudaimonia – the good life – I love my life. Practice trumps intelligence every time. No matter how much you plan, the unexpected will happen. Deal with it.