The glittering $359k pay bonanza National dangled before teachers has failed to impress. The NZEI is checking in with members about what they want from the roles, and the NZPF has called an urgent meeting with Hekia Parata to discuss mounting concerns.
This should really hit home with people. Workers turning down money? Saying no to the yummy carrots being dangled? Rejecting the pot of gold? Why?
Well, it’s simple really. Teachers can’t see how these proposals will help students. That’s it, pure and simple. There is no point at all adding new positions if they aren’t going to serve the very people we are there for – the kids.
Ms Torrey of the Education Institute says the problem is that “…the ministry wants us to sort out a plan that they’ve come up with.” In other words, it’s another pre-ordained reform and teachers were meant to be so blinded by the cash they wouldn’t ask questions.
But they have asked question. Teachers do that. A lot.
Teachers asked whether the money could be used to make the more important improvements to the education system. What about the lack of funding for special needs, they asked? What about the shoddy professional development situation? Surely those should be considered too, before spending such a huge sum of money?
I am so grateful that teachers have stood back and asked these and other important questions.
Thankfully, teachers are quite clever folk, used to analysing ideas and situations and not taking things at face value. (It’s kind of important to have those skills when you are in charge of helping students learn…) So, rather than rolling on a bed of dollars shouting whoopee, teachers are asking questions, demanding to make changes based on sound research and robust ideas.
However the money is spent, any new initiative must be thought through carefully, honestly and transparently by all concerned so that what is agreed upon is the best for the education system and for the students.
So, Ms Parata, thank you for the acknowledgement that education needs an injection of funds, and thank you for acknowledging that there are some amazing lead teachers out there in our schools. I hope you listen to the concerns teachers have and understand that we want to be very sure that any proposed new roles clearly and directly benefit children’s learning. That is what matters to teachers the most.
It’s often said that no-one goes into teaching for the money, and that’s something you really do need to take heed of.