The Teachers’ strike

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 am, June 6th, 2019 - 77 comments
Categories: accountability, education, families, health and safety, jacinda ardern, labour, Politics, quality of life, schools, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

This is a really big test for the Government.

Jacinda is great, from yesterday’s performance at Te Pai Stadium out west I would say extraordinary, but successful governments are built on accomplishments as well as inspiration.

Teaching is approaching a crisis point.  Sure it has taken 9 years to wreck the system and the ideological burp that was National Standards as well as financial cuts and reprioritisations played their part. But this Government is expected to repair quickly the damage that the last Government caused.  When you promise a better world you should not delay in delivering it.

And there have been a couple of missteps.  When you publicly claim that your offer is better than what it actually is you need to expect some push back.

The problem as I see it can be summed up in three simple propositions:

  1. Teachers are spending far too much time collecting data on their kids and not enough time teaching.  In fact the amount of time spent collecting data is presenting a work load crisis to the profession.
  2. Auckland teachers amongst others can no longer without external assistance afford to buy houses.  This is a bizarre situation.
  3. Kids are becoming more difficult to teach.  We are getting more and more FLAS kids and kids suffering from the effects of parental addiction to Methamphetamine and for whatever reason kids with other problems.  And they are adding to the stress levels and the complexity of the job.

How about this from a young teacher on the problems with the job?

I have no work life balance, and am sick of working a full day at school, just to come home eat and do more school work. I honestly don’t know how I can sustain this long term and have seriously considered leaving the profession on multiple occasions. As have many of my colleagues.

What keeps me going is the fact that I love the stuff that happens from 9-3. Teaching is an incredibly rewarding job but the lack of funding and support for children with additional learning and behaviour needs is making even this challenging. I know I’m a good teacher, every child in my class loves coming to school. However, the more bogged down I feel the less I love coming to school.

While recruiting new teachers is important, it is also important to retain teachers who are looking outside of the profession. From my small group of uni friends one has already moved overseas, and another has left the profession. You need to do something to retain us, or we will continue to look elsewhere. Pay us what we are worth, reduce our workload and value the profession that I am proud to call myself a part of.

Sure the wellbeing budget is pumping resources into areas that will help deal with some of these problems.

The problem for the Government is that it has presented this as a pay issue. My strong sense is that if the Government did something about work loads and reduced testing and the endless need to collect data, then many teachers would find the job less stressful and more rewarding.  The dispute is not just about or only about pay.  It is also about the inability of teachers to achieve what they want to, that is teach kids.

Negotiations happen today.  I hope the Government approaches the negotiations with a fulsome broad view of the problem.  And a desire to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy that is making what should be the most rewarding of jobs into a problematic mess.

77 comments on “The Teachers’ strike”

  1. marty mars 1

    This is the time for leadership – to fix this and imo that means more money for the teachers. Yes hours, workload and reporting also need sorting but pay teachers more – the money is there and it is wrong to say it will create a precedent. We have seen labour do quite well across a range of areas – this is a test they must pass and I hope they do. Kia kaha teachers!!!

    • michelle 1.1

      yes well said marty mars we need to sort this and we need our teachers to get their shit  together cause too many of our kids are leaving school without knowing how to read and write and that is plain wrong. I had good teachers in the early 1970s now I am not so sure of the standard this is not a one sided issues there are many issues including the teachers ability to relate to the student. If you want the money you have to produce the goods and failing students ain't the goods, sorry but i can see this. 

    • Tiger Mountain 1.2

      Agree martymars, it would be a defining gesture for the Govt. to cough up and settle this one.

      The 2020 election will see the start of the “cross over” of voter numbers between Boomers and the succeeding generations–people that have only known exploitative rents, student loans and precarious employment all their lives.

    • Wayne 1.3

      Of course it will create a precedent. All state employees are benchmarking against each other. If one group gets a greater amount than other groups, then it boosts their claims as well. 

      The govt is fully aware of this. The proposed surplus is already on the low side. A whole bunch of higher claims will eliminate it.

      i suspect the current offer will be boosted by about 10%, up from $1.2 billion to 1.32 billion. But I imagine that is the limit.

      • Herodotus 1.3.1

        All I get from that, this a means to repress any valid wage demand ?

        So it is ok for teachers to in real terms go backwards ? Remember there has been no increase for the 2018-19 year, yet CPI was 2%. so if we index teachers pay @ 100 June 2018, June 2019 pay is  …. 98. 

        Glad you are not representing the unions in this.

         

        • Pat 1.3.1.1

          CPI is irrelevant…especially if your looking for housing in Auckland

        • Wayne 1.3.1.2

          I was looking at the issue from the perspective of the govt. Quite clearly the Minister is playing hardball. There is a reason for that, and it is the precedent effect.

          I am certain the government can do more. My guess is 10% more, and that will be the limit. The union negotiators will have a sense of that.

      • marty mars 1.3.2

        If the offer is boosted by 10% then that will create a precedent?

  2. Incognito 2

    The longer this drags on, the less teaching becomes a viable career choice. The Government needs to send a strong signal (action) to show it is committed to improving the situation in the medium-to-long term. Whether that signal should be meeting the pay demands of teachers or some other signal remains to be decided, by the two negotiating parties.

  3. WeTheBleeple 3

    I love teaching and I'm a good teacher. Entertainment and lessons!

    But nobody owns me 24/7, so I did not move into teaching. I talked to teachers, professors, other staff – and they collectively said "don't do it". It was the hours, all the unpaid hours. When I go home I need me time, not work.

    Societies most important role, outsourced, shafted, put aside, reshuffled, overlooked and yet taken for granted…

    Fix it Labour.

     

  4. Herodotus 4

    "..But this Government is expected to repair quickly the damage that the last Government caused.." So repair means Take a pay CUT !!

    2018-2019 No pay rise and inflation 2% , so teachers pay goes backwards 

    2019-2020 3% inflation 2%

    2020-2021 3% Inflation 2% and Election 

    2021-2022 3% and inflation 2% at this point teachers pay is in real terms above that from when this current govt gained power. 4 years to wait until any pay rise. 

     

    • Lucy 4.1

      Many occupations I know have had 0% for up to 15 years. Dusties who were well paid in 70's now get less than what they used to be paid working longer hours. I know there are lots of good teachers who work really hard who have to work in the Ministry to achieve good pay. But this is an issue that affects all NZ, working harder or smarter is not enough. We need to cut pay and conditions from productivity because the employers are not paying that way. I know teachers are losing out but they need to be smarter than just slamming this government while having acquiesced to the previous one. 

  5. michelle 5

    Actually i am not happy with our teachers for 9 yrs they sat back and got crushed by the national government and while they were getting crushed our kids were suffering especially the poor kids in poorer areas and our public schools are over crowded and run down. And to say expectations have risen as a result of election promises in my view does  not excuse them from sitting on there laurels and being inactive for 9 years 

    • aj 5.1

      The teachers should be hammering the point that the National Government was responsible for putting them in this predicament.

    • Craig Glen Eden 5.2

      Michelle “ I am not happy with our teachers”   In case you missed it Education was turned on it’s head under National. The teachers and their Unions fought to resist National standards. Schools lost funding in areas, special education lost funding, work loads increased due to an increase in Assessment requirements.National attacked the profession on a weekly basis it never stopped. Principles have been made legally liable for things that previously  the boards were responsible for. The social issues and learning behaviour problems that teachers  and schools are dealing with are intense. Child suicide, destructive behaviours like cutting, social media bullying all on the rise. Labour promised to help but they haven’t done enough and sadly the Minister has behaved terribly during this dispute running the kinds of lines about teachers that we would expect from any Tory Neo Liberal Boss. Chris Hipkins should lose his job and  if he continues the way he has it will cost Labour the next election I have no doubt about that. So perhaps you might want to reconsider as to your claim that teachers did nothing in the last nine years they did well to survive and it’s time Labour stop talking and started really delivering in education. Oh and it’s not up to Teachers to fight Labour’s battles but Labour has to make good on its promises to teachers if they don’t they will pay the price for their duplicity and so they should!

    • bewildered 5.3

      Some of poor kids where doing well in charter schools but ……

      • Peter 5.3.1

        I'd be interested in your data and facts about some poor kids who were doing well in charter schools but are now not doing well at school with the administrative change.

        If you can back up what you've said, good. On the surface though it looks like a lot of the other charter school propaganda bullshit.

         

      • KJT 5.3.2

        Yeah. The ones with good family support, that do well, anywhere.

        The rest have been dumped back on State schools to pick up the pieces. Of children who have been made to feel like, failures, again. I've seen them.

        Would have got much better results listening to the Teachers who wanted more diverse child centred options within State schools. A fledgling movement which was destroyed first by NCEA, and later by the return to 19th century rote learning, with "National standards".

        Charter schools. Yet another right wing fantasy that has failed overseas.

  6. Darien Fenton 6

    I'm not a teacher, at least not in the State system, but I did spend time trying to teach poor kids music as a highly qualified music teacher,  helping educate workers to learn and challenge the pedagogy, where working people and their organisations were expected to fund their own education because the government didn't believe it was valid, to being a parent of a very successful son who came through the state system from primary to secondary to university.  What this has taught me through the years is there are many layers to education.  Formal state education is an important foundation to this, but not everything that needs to be done.  I understand the built up frustration of teachers, but  as Lucy has pointed out, its been tough for many occupations and particularly those facing their industries disappearing. Teachers are not immune from this ; AI and other forms of robotics will challenge this industry as much as others.  This isn't a justification. Its a plea.  I think we all recognise education and well paid teachers are vital, but can we talk also about tomorrow, not the past and how we use this unique chance in a decade to engage with a progressive government to face what are surely going to be huge changes.

    • Sacha 6.1

      When people do not have enough energy right now because they are working too hard, the future is the last thing they want to be considering. Sort out today's workload pressures first, then dream big.

      Also, maybe a moderator can de-bold your comment (which otherwise looks a lot like a moderation note).

      [Done – MS]

      • Darien Fenton 6.1.1

        Yeah fine with me. I tried

        • Rapunzel 6.1.1.1

          I agree with michelle and aj said – there is a lot of catch-up to do but apparently that is no longer allowed a mention – why is that? The demands of now might just mean some people get a return to a govt they deserve but it is not one long term that NZ children deserve. 

          A variety of teachers will vote in a variety of ways and I have no doubt that some will have their own preference, some will be exactly the types to cynically demand a higher tarrif from the current govt and then sit back – hunt with the hounds I think it's called.

          As for the National Party in regard to such community minded matters they can't even be bothered even backing someone for mayor of NZ's biggest city bearing the brunt of many of the issues they are taking the govt to task over. The excuses were costs too much and concetration on the bigger "prize" of the 2020 election is probalby all of that and the fact if they back no one they can sheet all criticism at the two candidates being painted as "Labour" plus distance themselves from any comments they have no intention of fronting on.

      • WeTheBleeple 6.1.2

        Absolutely. We want a firm footing first, then stepping out.

      • KJT 6.1.3

        True. To many teachers are head down without any time for reflection and planning.

        Both essential for effective Teaching.

    • Jo Standley 6.2

      AI and robots are welcome to my job.  Let's see how well they cope with being…..

      Teacher… and

      • Colleague 
      • Head of Department
      • Mentor
      • Friend
      • Curriculum assessment creator
      • Lesson Planner
      • Marker
      • Progress checker and feedback feed forwarder 
      • Classroom decorator 
      • Stationery hoarder and supplier 
      • Limitless idea prompter
        Props maker 
      • Individual child cheerleader
      • Counselling service
      • A shoulder to lean on an ear to listen
        Health nurse
      • Administration filler in
      • Inquiry gatherer
      • Reflector (for excessive burdensome appraisal purposes)
      • PTC collector and evidence gatherer
      • Advisor to Year 1 Science teacher
      • Meeting attendee (all "lunch hour" today)
      • Meeting leader
      • Teacher on duty (patrolling during my “lunch hour”)
      • Co-contributor of staff morning tea (once every 6 weeks)
      • Phone call and email giver and receiver to parents
      • NCEA marker of assessments and resubmissions and reassessments (I have 4 senior classes)
      • NCEA assessment writer
      • Grade enterer and report writer
      • Proof reader of reports
      • Parent teacher interviewer
      • Informal Career advisor
      • Exhibition organiser
      • Supporter of parents who are struggling with their teenagers 
      • Social media etiquette teacher and monitor
      • Phone monitor
      • Laptop technician
      • Mediator
      • Behaviour modification aka crowd control
      • Taker of minutes / secretary
      • School LMS coach & provider of help
      • Member of a committee outside my teaching area
      • Budget manager
      • My own Science technician (afternoons and Wednesdays when we have no one)
      • Scholarship Chemistry tutor / Tutorial giver

        (List created by a fellow teacher, edited and added to.  Other teachers have even more roles but this is the year I said "No!")

  7. Infused 7

    Welcome to running a small business. Dont like it, leave.

    • AB 7.1

      Small business is murderously difficult and I wouldn't wish a similar experience on anyone – especially someone with responsibility for teaching my kids.

      The main reasons for the difficulty are that many of the methods that make large enterprises profitable aren't available to small businesses. These methods are in general terms: price gouging/cartel arrangements, passive income through ticket-clipping value created by others, externalising costs onto the taxpayer or public, and lobbying governments for favourable regulation.  

      I actually don't think we should  perversely make the self-imposed slavery of trying to run a small business in a rigged economy into some sort of virtue. 

    • The right's attitude to employees, in a nutshell.  

      • infused 7.2.1

        yeah it is, personal responsibility.

        I find it fucking crazy that people go study for things and then go "oh shit, this is so hard and pays fuck all"

        do some god damm research. This isn't just teachers, this is many industries.

        • WeTheBleeple 7.2.1.1

          The hardest thing I found in business was all the crooks mistaking me for a mark.

        • KJT 7.2.1.2

          Almost everything these days.

          Even the trades, are being undercut by large firms with underpaid immigrant semi skilled labour.

          So. What do you expect the kids to do.

          Especially with tertiary institutes getting bums on seats by lying about employment opportunities, and pay rates.

    • Siobhan 7.3

      You set up a small business in the hope of an eventual pay off..sacrifice..risk..reward.

      What exactly is the risk/reward pay off for teachers?.

      A humdinger of slap up afternoon tea when they resign after 40 years?

      • Bewildered 7.3.1

        Get rid of troglodyte Union, Drop the bs subjects, focus on core subjects introduce pay for performance,  sorted 

        • Macro 7.3.1.1

          If that was the total sum of your education, it's no wonder your bewildered.

        • Frankie and Benjie 7.3.1.2

          Would you consider Digital Technology to be a "core" subject? Is it "bs"?

          Would you drop it from secondary schools? 

          • bewildered 7.3.1.2.1

            Yep beyond the basics of using your digital devices, internet,  pick it up the rest post secondary 

    • KJT 7.4

      Actually, having done both, Teaching was much more challenging than running a business.

      More satisfying in many ways, as well.

      Difficult was all the children that needed more help, which they should have got much younger, than I could provide. And the amount of paperwork for unnecessary compliance bureaucracy, and summative assessments, which was way in excess of that required for a small business.

  8. patricia bremner 8

    Teachers like a number of people,  believed Key and c/o for quite some time.  It was when the fat had been stripped from the system and teachers found their classes full and resources both human and actual diminishing while workloads increased,  problems arose.

    Teachers also felt undervalued when rises did not even reflect inflation.  Further,  Boards had sold off School housing to build capital reserves,  so cheaper housing had vanished.

    Teaching is an art as well as pedagogy,  and sharing is vital.  Competition is fine until it is used to locate "winners"  at the expense of the less able.  Sharing through hubs could help with expensive resources.

    Training continues for life and the pay resources and opportunities need to be provided.

    Children mimic the society they see around them,  so we need to present what we would  hope for. 

    Chris Hipkins was a tad glib,  and now he has to correct this or teachers will lose faith.  They have a case,  and he has to walk the talk on this occasion or it could cost  the next election.

    Both parties  (teachers and Government),  need to bring their best ideas to the table for the children's sake.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    I actually agree that pay rates are too low for teachers. But I think paying more for seniority is silly.

    I think what needs to happen is that pay rates need to be adjusted so they are competitive with other careers that tend to be more attractive higher pay rates. Once that side of the equation is sorted, then teaching should be an attractive career choice on the basis of future renumeration.

    Then the bar for entry to teachers college etc can be raised so that students entering teachers college are at a higher level.

    And I think there needs to be some sort of performance measure to justify higher pay rates, rather than just seniority. Arguing this can't be done is silly because it is done in plenty of other professions.  

    Otherwise we end up with ludicrous situations my wife's sister is facing in Australia. Because she is a senior teacher, she struggles to get work because schools prefer to pay for younger, cheaper teachers to fit within their budgets.

  10. gsays 10

    With the large amounts of unpaid work, maybe it's time to work-to-rule.

    This may bring the Boards of Trustees into the discussion. Do the Boards have a collective voice?

    Perhaps the work to rule seems untenable but I have found in different jobs, this unpaid workload starts small and well intended then gets taken for granted and grows.

  11. AB 11

    I feel some sympathy for teachers – they seem like well-intended young to middle-aged people with a decent education and who are earning (on objective measures) a middle-class income. Sadly this income doesn't buy them a middle-class lifestyle any more. This is due to inter-generational theft – both student debt and the deliberate inflation of house prices to favour investors, banks and existing home-owners. The latter is classic case of "accumulation by dispossession" – in this case dispossession of the next generation by the existing owners of capital and housing assets.

    The problem is that no pay rise they could ever conceivably get will now cover this gap. Almost nobody gets ahead by working or pay rises, you get ahead by owning stuff that goes up in value. Structural reform is needed to tip the balance in favour of income from labour.

    They are also the inheritors of a horribly over-complicated system – too many courses and mysteriously convoluted assessment systems. It shows all the signs of far too much business influence over the design. Business has no interest in, or concept of, a well and broadly educated populace that is able to participate in their civic duties as citizens. All they really want to do is externalise their staff training costs onto the taxpayer. So the whole thing needs a radical simplification with limited input from business. That might reduce teacher workload a bit. 

  12. Cinny 12

    Currently teachers have to be mental health workers as well as teachers.  The recent budget announcement re mental health will be massively beneficial in lowering their work load and stress.

    • bewildered 12.1

      How much is that urban myth re the degree of such The woe is me displayed by teachers is getting to the point of mass psychosis, go for a pay rise all for it but not sure union institution is really helping you in securing long term pay goals with last 40 years as evidence of a failed strategy, similarly take some concrete pills and stop whining  

      • Cinny 12.1.1

        A salary increase will not address mental health issues for teens.  And of late I've heard of way too many troubled kids in our community, it's really sad.  No wonder teachers are struggling in their roles.

      • Craig Glen Eden 12.1.2

        You remember  market forces  aye Bewildered, supply demand? Well principles can’t get or retain teachers. So the Government has to pay more so tax payers have to pay more tax. So message to you pay your taxes don’t whinge if taxes increase take a concrete pill and  harden up. See, problem sorted snow flake.

  13. Ad 13

    “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.

    We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government.

    Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
    ― Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don't    

    New Zealand schools are now the only remaining avenue of class mobility, since intergenerational property has now massively decreased.

    Since this government is now unlikely to generate tax reform, or social welfare reform, or major skills and productivity reform, the remaining established vector of education is now the route they have left to try and improve this country and its people.

    Fund them. Fund beyond good; fund them to great.

  14. CHCoff 14

    The plight of the teachers is the result of being poorly represented and served by their Union through the NZ democratic system……….and this current Union shortcut further undercuts the overall interests of the teachers short to medium and long term……what’s new?

    • mickysavage 14.1

      They are one of the strongest unions left …

    • Bewildered 14.2

      Yep and high performing teachers get regressed to the lowest common denominator, the Union and it’s survival  self interest is s big part of the problem not the solution as the last 40 years have shown? It’s about time good teachers learnt this or bugger  off to private education  sector, or countries where market values them individually No point whinging and repeating the same  old strategy year after year and expecting anything different 

      • Craig Glen Eden 14.2.1

        “High performances teachers” oh ok determined how and by home? Seriously Bewildered you would  have no bloody idea,  none. 

        • bewildered 14.2.1.1

          Well firstly the ones that taught you Craig;where obviously low performers, there that’s a start  (hint :by whom, not by Home )

      • KJT 14.2.2

        "Performance pay" has proven not to work, in the private sector, except for some very well defined single goal roles, such as sales. Even then it is often hard to show who really made the difference.

  15. 100% support for just about everything mentioned, however , way back in the 1990's when I worked in Queenstown painting / decorating I recall the fact that the very workers needed to run that place could not afford the rents and were expected to relocate and to commute Q' town from Cromwell, – and not ask for petrol money to cover expenses.

    This is neo liberalism.

    This is what it does.

    Rips people off, massively increases workloads and stress , expects people to act like servile peasants and to be grateful for having a job with flat rates , long hours , endless perusals based on 'performance' , contracts weighted in the employers favour and to be on call in casualized conditions.

    Its time the neo liberal ideology was trashed.

    Lets have more rolling strikes, stoppages and go slows and take this country back all for the sake of a little inconvenience and pain now , – the same sort of 'pain' the neo liberals preached to us we would all have to endure to enable their goals, – that of the above conditions and a permanent 5% unemployment rate.

    Screw 'em.

  16. Marcus Morris 16

    For those on this site who claim that the present government has done nothing, or very little, let’s remind them that one of the first things they did was abolish the ill-conceived and fatuous National Standards. A working party, under the excellent guidance of Bali Haque, has been established and the notion of administrative hubs is being explored. One move has, and the other has the potential to, remove a great deal of the administrative stress that teachers do indeed suffer from.

    I taught for forty five years in the state sector at secondary school level and the cry has never varied, not enough pay and the increasing difficulties in classroom management plus ever increasing administrative obligations. Add to this more and more unpaid internal assessment at senior level and teachers have a point. However I was in discussion recently with an engineer whose wife is a nurse. He said that, with overtime, it was possible for his spouse to earn $100 000 in a year but he was quick to point out that this would mean many seven day working weeks and almost no holidays.

     

    Here is the rub. While teachers and students need holidays to recharge, a quarter of the year on paid leave is not a bad bonus. There was a time, back in the seventies, when the PPTA was, in my opinion, much more professionally focused and vacation courses for professional development were highly valued and very worthwhile. These courses were planned and subsidized by the Association. I stand to be corrected but I don’t they feature today.

     

    Is there a place for regional differentiation. To live in Auckland is hugely more expensive than living in Central Southland (for example). Graduates in the sciences (except maybe biology) can usually demand much better salaries outside teaching and it has been mooted that they be paid more to attract them into the profession.

    The issue is a highly complex one but I did wonder at the ethics of using students in protest marches last week. One further question, what exactly has the government put on the table. Do many of us know the detail. I don’t.

    • Herodotus 16.1

      Bali Haque's report is an embarrassment try reading it. 

      There was no international studies that it referred to, full of generalisations, looks at 15% of those underperforming and designs a system around them – how about the other 85% even the report agrees pg 11, full of "we think" how about studies to support this,  and no expected outcomes (mmm Kiwibuild comes to mind), and the costs to implement any recommendations has not yet been disclosed, that is to come in a month or so, and wasn't that I could see covered in the last budget.

      https://conversation.education.govt.nz/assets/TSR/Tomorrows-Schools-Review-Report-13Dec2018.PDF

      • Marcus Morris 16.1.1

        Thanks for the reference. I will need to read it before I respond although from your other comment I suspect that you might have your own political agenda.

      • WeTheBleeple 16.1.2

        I found 102 references in that document leading me to believe external studies have been perused. The thing full of generalisations is your post.

        “79 Crossan, S. & Scott, D. (2016). How does New Zealand’s education system compare? OECD’s
        Education at a Glance 2016. p. 19. Wellington: Ministry of Education,”

      • Craig Glen Eden 16.1.3

        Bali Haque was a teacher of mine at high school. I remember him well because he was so usesless! I piss  my self laughing every time I see him on TV or being quoted by someone. He certainly hasn’t got the jobs he has had since that time due to his ability to teach or inspire his students. He was one of those teachers who never engage his students in learning or was interested in building professional constructive relationships with his students. I try to put my past experience of him to one side when I listen to anything he has to say on education, but every time I come away thinking shit nothing has changed he talks but actually says very little that truely is meaningful. 

      • Marcus Morris 16.1.4

        Thanks again for the link Herodotus and I have read the first section which identifies issues and then lists recommendations. I am left wondering if you and I have read the same document. I did not find one example of "we think". On the contrary, I found a succession of clear, concise and eminently sensible recommendations to address  problems that have been obvious to many professionals for a long time.There is an old adage that says that you don't fix something that isn't broken. "Tomorrows schools" ignored that tenet and proceeded to replace a world leading education system with something that  imposed the "market model" onto it. This was the ideology of the time and was set in place with little or no research as to how it might  impact on teachers, their students or those who were charged with their administration. The headmaster of Auckland Grammar and a few of his fellow principles  raised their hands in collective horror when the Haque report was first published. They claimed it signalled the end of the “traditional New Zealand school education”. What utter balderdash.

        While I did not reach the lofty heights of being a school Principal I did spend much of my career in senior administrative roles including Deputy Principal of a medium sized provincial school. Tomorrows Schools was introduced half way through my forty five years as a teacher so I can comment from some experience on both systems. There is no doubt in my mind that the revolution did not bring about the intended results it claimed it would but did cause a number of unforseen and unfortunate consequences. 

    • Herodotus 16.2

      Our revised offers to primary teachers and principals

      09 November 2018

      https://www.education.govt.nz/news/revised-offer-to-primary-principals-and-teachers/

    • mickysavage 16.3

      Agreed that getting rid of National Standards was important but there are still localised school versions of it.  And the teachers still need to test and collect data rather than teach …

  17. CHCoff 17

    Education itself, for kids, and people generally, one size doesn't fit all.

    It might be more practical if the more challenging subjects were stepped earlier and relative to work load.

    A student might have the capacity to handle one or two of the more intellectual subjects very good, but start to slip up trying to juggle 3 or 4 of them.

    Practical realism to learning what their interests are, prioritising, learning those sort of skills, with a more and earlier stepped approach systemic approach, might produce outcomes where students are leaving well grounded in the foundations of at least one technical area that they have really gotten into and absorbed, then are well placed to kick on with down the track. At the moment, it may be that the approach is overly calibrated to the top whizzes.

    • WeTheBleeple 17.1

      To my understanding they aim for the center of the class. So the top students get bored out of their minds and the bottom fall behind.

      One of the best ways to learn is to teach. In university they'd get the clever clods as teaching assistants (a lot of that money's now dried up too). So we're doing a lab of 40 students with one lecturer and three TA's… also a meeting on each labs content before we go in and teach it. The students get lots of help.

      I have no idea if this would be practical in pre-tertiary education.

       

      • CHCoff 17.1.1

        yeah, i was meaning there's more to that square you initially mentioned in how to work with education.

  18. Stuart Munro. 18

    I taught in Korea – don't fancy it here. The money there wasn't amazing but cost of living was much better, and teachers are respected. I still correspond with some of my Korean students – a couple have just finished their PhDs – can't have led them too far astray.

  19. SPC 19

    The first thing I would have/the government should have offered in the pay round would be to end requirement to repay tertiary debt for those working as teachers in New Zealand – the government to write it down at 10% per annum.  

    They should do this now. 

    Then promise to increase the number of learning co-ordinators again in the next term (600 to … 1200), similarly with teacher aides, nurses, increased funding for specialist support (including learning disability teachers, psychologuists, sociologists etc) 

    Then comes making two promises

    That if teachers agree to this deal, talks on the next one begin now, and will be completed before the 2020 election and begin on 1 Feb 2022.

    And talks will include the matter of supervised, rather than teaching classes (allowing other work time to teachers) and arrangments related to. 

    • WeTheBleeple 19.1

      "The first thing I would have/the government should have offered in the pay round would be to end requirement to repay tertiary debt for those working as teachers in New Zealand – the government to write it down at 10% per annum."

      That's a great idea. 

  20. Peter 20

    My reason for doom and gloom is different than others on here. The other reasons are valid and yet from my observations, while seeming to be central, are behind a more critical factor.

    The system is full of managers, principals and senior staff, who are bureaucratised box ticking paint-by-numbers clones who have demanded that of their teachers. Granted that has evolved more easily in the Tolley/Parata braindead approaches to learning with their meathead approaches, but it is built on the early '90s curriculum changes which inevitably saw teachers being technicians rather than teaching/learning professionals. 

    You can give teachers a lot more money but when teachers are being 'led' by box ticking fuckwits whose philosophical basis for doing the job is based not on children and learning but compliance, the job will be one for boring unimaginative instruction followers not our best, brightest and more creative and charismatic. Get those in on the promise of more money they will still leave disenchanted.

    • WeTheBleeple 20.1

      Wholeheartedly agree. Bureaucracy is anathema to creativity and the problem solving/talent that comes with it.

       

    • Marcus Morris 20.2

      Can't disagree with that – pity about the use of "fuckwits" – weakens the argument in my opinion.

      • Peter 20.2.1

        I accept that some would think that.

        The system is riddled with many who are doing far more damage to it than I am to damaging an argument by the use of a harsh description.

         

  21. PB 21

    A big part of the workload problem is to do with school leadership.  But it is not so easy to say that school leadership is poor but rather that what happens in schools is often driven buy ERO who visit schools in a high stakes manner and depending on a bunch of managerial imperatives that often have little or no correlation with quality teaching and learning shape schools practice and policy.  Then the school leaders get together and discuss an ERO review and in order to not fall foul when their school is reviewed implement what didn't happen at the other school.  (i know this paragraph is difficult to read but this is what happens.  Pretty soon almost everyone is doing stuff because they want to ensure a good review – often a lot of it isn't really required and is just 'stuff' which another ERO team might not even require.  We have had many years of this and it has reached the monty python stage now of almost everyone doing things that meet some managerial requirement but add little to teaching and or learning.  Under National  it was worse because the MOE (who in general are of little if any use or benefit) were encouraged and supported to act aggressively towards schools and the media got on board (as they were encouraged to do here and in other neo liberal places especially the US and the UK) to berate teachers and schools at every opportunity which further scared the schools into ensuring that every admin box was carefully filled rather than focusing on the teaching and learning and well being of the children. 

    Want to fix things? Let schools get on with doing their jobs.  Get ERO out of the equation (they are also next to useless and add little). Stop teachers doing all this work to justify themselves and what they do.  Ask principals to ensure that their schools are happy, healthy places for everyone who walks through their door and trust them to do it.

    Yes, there are some resourcing problems, especially in low decile schools and in special education.  Behaviour problems have risen and are rising too.  I'll trust the government to do the work that they are promising in fixing society that will reduce the poverty and inequity that causes so many problems and extra work in schools if they trust me to ensure that my school does its best too.  Actually, if anything their work needs to happen first.   

     

     

     

      

    • Marcus Morris 21.1

      Those who began their secondary teaching careers before 1975 will recall the old annual Inspection Visit. It really had only one function, to grade teachers and place them on a "normal distribution curve". On the whole teachers did not look forward to such visits and a whole lot of "window dressing" went on before the "team" arrived. Occasionally the visit might result with an invitation to an individual teacher to attend an in-service but this was the extent of Professional Development and usually reserved for the "chosen few". From around 1975 the inspectors morphed into "advisors" and this was a much less threatening role for them and they would happily offer suggestions for individual or departmental PD. However, with Tomorrows School the role changed again because, with the market lead orientation there had to be "accountability" so ERO came into being. The system had gone full circle only this time the whole school came under the spotlight with the ERO assessment published in the public arena  – hugely stressful for all concerned and "ramping" up the competitive environment that schools now found themselves in. The point is that this competitiveness does not necessarily lead to better educational outcomes and there are definitely winners and losers.

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