Tindall's vision: it's missing something
Tindall's vision is, I read, about world-class people contributing what they can in the "engine room" of New Zealand's economic growth. He was celebrating and rewarding world-class Kiwis, telling stories about Coca-Cola and Gatorade, getting access to US pharmaceutical companies, Asian governments, and Chinese social networks, and New Zealand being a place where talent wants to live. Weta and The Hobbit and big yachts will be talked about. And ‘Kiwis succeeding on the global stage’ and ‘the best of the best’ and, ‘Kiwi ingenuity’ and dedication and hard work and attention to detail.
That ‘global stage’, is that where New Zealand Teaching and learning stands among ‘the best of the best’ in reading, maths, and science (and footy)? That Kiwi ingenuity that’s referred to, is that Kiwi Teaching practices? And the hard work, is that the many hours that Kiwi Teachers put in each week (all year long) planning lessons, preparing resources, tying show laces, coaching teams, saying ‘well done’, ‘keep trying’, ‘you can do it, I know you can’, and ‘there’s more in you’.
Doubtless the applause and gratitude and all the big talk will be of the very important people who do technology and exports and exchange rates and investment and dollars.
But of the Teachers of personal financial literacy in primary schools, and the Teachers of economics, accounting, and business studies in high school? Nothing. Of the Teachers who give their free time to support Young Enterprise? Nothing. Of the Teachers who teach the core values of honesty and reliability and hard work…? Nothing. What of the Teachers who taught these Great Kiwis to read? To calculate percentages? To think creatively? To understand the bonds in hydrogen? To play team sports and respect the rules and the principles of fair play? Presumably, they’re just Teachers and they have little to do with Tindall’s vision. Perhaps his vision has been blinded by shiny trinkets from Silicon Valley and brightly coloured shoddy stuff made by slave-labour in sweatshops. All of which just feels a long way from ‘the best thing you can spend on your children is your time’.
Hey, Tindall et al., the engine room of New Zealand’s economic growth is called a Kiwi classroom. It’s manager and CEO is called a Teacher. If you’re looking for great Kiwis to honour, pop along to your nearest school. This is where the New Zealand economy is being nurtured. An economy, you see, is not only about imports of shoddy stuff, and exports of milk powder and value-added meaty stuff. A goods market is not just about producers, but consumers too. A labour market is not just about employers, but also employees.
The New Zealand economy is he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
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