Play nice, ok

Wasn’t it interesting to see our schools hit the front page of the newspapers again this week … as each sought to pit their state’s NAPLAN results against another’s?

It was fascinating to see that Victoria, despite the longest lockdown interruptions, recording such positive test results.

It got me thinking:

  • Are Victoria’s teachers doing something special or amazing that NSW teachers aren’t? Are they trying harder?
  • Are NT teachers doing something incredible or groundbreaking that Queensland teachers aren’t?
  • Or is it just, as the Herald-Sun proclaimed in their headline, that Victoria possesses genetically exceptional “Superkids”?

When you rationalise it, none of the above can be answered with a ‘Yes’.  These NAPLAN results are just a quirk of data collected in the most uncertain and unpredictable of environs … schools.  This time, Victorian educators are showered with praise and our NSW colleagues get kicked in the guts.

It really isn’t fair.  And we in Victoria should remember that we’re likely only another year from the vague dodginess of NAPLAN data reflecting poorly on our state.

When we make education competitive, it can draw out the worst in us.  We can boastfully celebrate good results and we might bitterly defend poor numbers, while we should just be sharing what we’re discovering works.

Don’t let the media (or a politician using the media) tell any of you that you’re better or worse than each other.  You are not in competition and only they benefit from the ruse that you are.  We need them to get the message that if you pick on the teachers from one state, you pick on the lot of us.

You are all doing worthy work in incredibly trying circumstances.  You have all been remarkable in preserving your students’ engagement, mental health and learning rates in times of tumult.

You do our nation, and not your state, a great service.  Let’s play nice with each other when it comes to NAPLAN data.

After all, it’s only fucking NAPLAN data.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. There are so many schools planning for 2022 and beyond amidst the chaos. I dunno quite how you do it!  But if you think we can help, then we should chat about that.  Use my Calendly link to find us a time to discuss your school’s hopes and dreams.


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