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New Educators

Courageous Conversations for new educators

15 Jun 2023

As a beginning kaiako or kaimahi, you may face situations where you are required to have a courageous conversation, be it talking with parents, colleagues, or employers. These conversations can be daunting due to being a new staff member at an ECE centre or kura or feeling inexperienced in addressing issues at a professional setting.

The key is to have a clear purpose driving your conversation.

If you know why you’re having the conversation, you’ll feel more specific and keep the conversation on track. Your purpose could be to get the other person to agree to a specific course of action, or to let the other person know how you feel.

It might be too ambitious if you’re hoping for an apology – instead let them know how you feel about their behaviour and the impact it has on you.

You won’t always get agreement if you ask straight-out. An effective conversation will allow you to take the person on a journey to understand your point of view. A useful structure to do this is to use is the three “F’s”. Facts, feelings, future.

  1. First, state the Facts – this is a neutral statement of the events “When my mistakes are pointed out in front of the children…”
  2. Then, talk about Feelings – say how you feel “… I feel humiliated and put down so I can’t really focus on what you are saying…”
  3. Finally, talk about the Future – ask for your desired outcome. This should align with your purpose and the change you’re after. “… If I have done something incorrectly, I would prefer you tell me about it when we are not busy with the children.”

If you’re a member of your union, you can access support from a variety of people within your union: worksite reps, Te Kupenga Rangatahi (New Educators Network), or your local branch. As another option, you can access support and advice to help you in your conversation.

You can call the Member Support Centre on 0800 693 443 or email them at nzei@nzei.org.nz , and they can put you in touch with others who can help, including legal advice if needed.