What did happen to JHR Teaching German at LPHS?

The story of the demise of German at Logan Park High School, Dunedin begins in 2007 when JHR along with BAM were support people for another teacher PPM. But first a little history to try to make sense of it all. In 2004 the LPHS JHR took unpaid leave to return to Netherlands after the deaths of her partner and father.  During this year no marketing took place and the numbers learning German dwindled in 2005, since then the numbers have been climbing again through the success of the outreach programme described bellow.

 From 1998 JHR went out to the feeding local intermediates (Port Chalmers, DNI and in 2006 Waitati School) teaching elementary French and German to year 8 or 7 students.  At first this was done in partnership with BMF( French Teacher and Head of Dept. Languages). They would travel once a week to a school usually at lunch time and would use their non-contact after lunch period (their own time) to promote LPHS and language learning. After two years BMF would not give the time anymore so JHR carried on doing both languages alone. This was stopped in 2008 after JHRs support role for PPM, because her timetable did not allow her to appropriate free time anymore, AJM (Timetabler and Staff Board Member) was asked if he could modify the timetable to allow for the continuation of this outreach marketing. He checked with senior management and reported  back that it was not important for the school anymore. JHR was upset that the friendly links with these schools were just cut off as it had been very successful in bringing new students into the department and meant new students would have a familiar face in at least one classroom. No explanation was ever given.

In 2007 Waitati school one of the schools JHR had promoted to was not invited to the schools open morning although they are a major contributor to the schools catchment. Not exactly inspiring from a competent management team, an oversight? or something more sinister?

Foreign fee paying German speaking students were precluded from taking German although international students were encouraged to take up French and Latin regardless of their origins.  There were a very few exceptions where parents complained.  The inclusion of these students in the class assists both local and international students in lifting the quality of language for New Zealand students and assisting the international students in understanding the grammatical differences and able to question in their native tongue. This also served to artificially inflate the numbers of students taking French. A quick check of the numbers of students sitting NCEA exams against enrolments shows up the discrepancy.

 During 2008 JHR took an extended sick (stress) leave from the beginning of August till the end of term 3 and on medical advice went to the Netherlands to recover. During this time, a first year teacher was employed as a reliever and asked to take a duel level class of year 10 & 11 students unsupervised, during this time only the year 11 students were taught. The Year 10 students were sent to the library. There were approximately 13 in each level the and 13 students in year 10 missed 10 weeks of tuition as a result of this only three students carried on to year 11 in 2008.  One of these dropped out on finding she would be in a triple level class of 28 students in 2009 with years 10, 11 and 12. Students  during this time told were they were not allowed to do German.  In 2008 7 hours were dedicated to teaching German year 9 single class. Years 10, 11, and 12 triple level glass of 23 students.  Although class numbers were roughly similar between French and German 14 hours per week were dedicated to French a huge disadvantage to the students learning German. No discussion or agreement took place with the JHR as is required this was all done by dictate. Roger Tobin’s comment when questioned was that “we all have to make sacrifices”.

In 2007-08 a Moderation report for German came to LPHS criticising the way the standards were written.  All the internal assessment standard documentation had been seen and approved by BMF prior to distribution.  The report was equally critical of work produced by BMF, JHR and the work of other schools to the extent that questions were asked and the moderator replaced.  This should have been the end of the matter but BMF will feature again when we examine the competency issues.

In 2009 German was not included in the open morning promotion for the first time since JHR had been teaching at the school.  German is the most spoken first language in Europe and the most learned second language. 

On 11/08/09 JHR was assaulted in her Services Academy (there will be another post about this later) class by a new student who should not have been there unsupervised, extremely traumatised she went that evening with her German students and they won the “Eric Herd Award” for writing and performing a play in German This award is judged by the German Dept of the University of Otago the students had been assisted and supported in this by JHR. But when this award was mentioned at the morning staff meeting credit was given to another teacher who had not been involved, but had been in the audience on the night. In November LPHS was offered an opportunity enter discussions with the German Government over a partnership teaching German. This was a position earned by the school and its students and would have been a massive coup for the school in marketing and offered new scholarship and learning opportunities for the students. As the sole German teacher JHR must receive credit for achieving this but it was declined by the principal Jane Johnson and never mentioned to either JHR or the students and ultimately the position teaching of German was disestablished at on the 23/11/09. The School has not mentioned this on the web site nor publicly acknowledged this.

All this has been done in the name of the BOT and much of it defies belief but it can all be verified.  Exactly who is LPHS being run for the benefit of and who is making the decisions? The Board of Trustees?

One Response to “What did happen to JHR Teaching German at LPHS?”

  1. Glad to see the machine is back up and ruinnng. Hopefully the master is not next. The slave does get all the road crude etc. Another reason to blled some fluid through the system every so often.Reply


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