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Education, Good Teaching, Government Policy, Novopay & Talent2, Stress & Depression

Teachers ask, “What next?”

egg under pressure.jpg

Teachers face a never-ending conveyor belt streaming negative news and new initiatives straight to our desks, each new thing vying for our attention and time. What are we to do?

Do we focus on the latest research on literacy or the changes to teacher appraisal? Do we read the news story about the sacked Principal or the one about the latest Novopay cock-up?  Do we attend that great PD session being offered, or go to the union meeting? Do we scan over the figures for what charter schools are being paid or spend the time trying to persuade our own students’ parents to pay a donation?

We can’t keep up with it all, because on top of all that there are actual students that need our time. And they win out, always.

It’s exhausting.

As an example of things bombarding NZ educators just now, we have:

  • another Novopay debacle affecting thousands of support staff
  • heated debate about the robustness of NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements
  • public schools strapped for cash
  • Ministry and NZEI still haven’t agreed on the primary teachers’ collective agreement (employment contract)
  • Kindies in Wellington just had to cut staff due to funding shortfalls as government prioritise funding private ECE
  • NZ School Trustees Association speaking at select committee against increased paid parental leave (!)
  • The Education Act being updated (again)
  • Redcliffs School fighting to move back to its site and remain open
  • teacher appraisal changes
  • changes to how teachers are certificated (so they can work)
  • new Communities of Schools and Communities of Learners
  • the slow but insistent push for schools to take up PaCT
  • Peggy Burrows has been sacked from her job as Headteacher for no apparent reason.
  • charter schools receiving higher funding per student than public schools
  • no news yet from the select committee on people’s requests to change to the inadequate special needs/ORS systems
  • Playcentres are facing tough decisions as their funding decreases
  • a freeze on Speech Language Teachers in Wellington. (It may be more widespread but their code of conduct forbids them to tell me about it!)
  • Changes to teachers’ code of ethics, potentially to a code of conduct that gags us from speaking out/speaking up.

give it a turn.jpgThere are more things but, really, I think you get the picture.

This is a teacher’s lot. We are trying to focus on planning lessons, marking, differentiating, learning about this or that disorder we think may be affecting a student in our class, attending meetings, collecting evidence that we are doing our job, up-skilling, organising trips, taking after-school clubs, and – yes – actually teaching. And on top of everything, there’s this pile of stuff pressing down.

I’ll say it again, it’s exhausting. And stressful.

I wonder whether, just for a while at least, the powers that be would consider just letting us leach?

Too much to ask?

~ Dianne Khan

About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


3 thoughts on “Teachers ask, “What next?”

  1. Yep, I can only empathise. Try Early Childhood Education, where you are not only worrying about most of your list, but also totally focused on financial viability as this present regime has a freeze on funding increases for our sector. Our teachers do not have the advantage, or not, in the case of Novapay, of being paid through the state sector, so we also are required to totally fund wages for all registered teachers who deserve pay parity but are not getting it because services cannot afford it. Not to mention ancillary staff. Because this government has no interest in our children’s education and would like to stop funding it all together through charter fiascos, we are being marginalised. This action is sadly at the expense of our children.


    Posted by Wendy ure | March 10, 2016, 12:05 pm
  2. Hi Dianne, great piece, thought you might want to see what Dr Graham Stoop emailed me as a reply to my question on gagging teachers. “When I met with a large sector group (including NZEI and APPA) last week to begin the discussions about updating the 13-year old code, I made the point that no government minister and no government department had made any comment or given any instruction about a gagging order. Indeed, I was quite clear that I would not be able to do my job were one in place. The Council’s job is to be an alternative, or independent, source of policy advice. That would not be possible with a gagging order.”


    Posted by Greg Patel | March 10, 2016, 1:31 pm
    • I do hope that is correct, because the gagging order on Specialist Support Staff such as speech language teachers (SLTs) is a travesty and is covering up all manner of poor policy that is in place to the detriment of students. In fact, given what Dr Stoop said, I would hope he gets the gagging order of SLTs etc withdrawn, too. ~ Dianne


      Posted by Save Our Schools NZ | March 10, 2016, 1:40 pm

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