i received this today from a friend of mine who is a high school teacher & thought it would be useful to share:
You may hear on the news that the H.S. teachers of N.Z. are on strike today. I am one of them. While the media protray it as teachers being greedy and trying to use students as pawns...It is not about that at all. To the contrary we are trying to improve student conditions as well as maintain a decent standard of living for students.
1) We need reduced class sizes. As an example This year I taught 33 Year 9 students in one class and 30 in another....while I'm supposed to a) manage all their behaviour b) teach effective and dynamic lessons c) differentiate and make individual programs for the students d) provide extension opportunities for those who are advanced.
We are asking for reasonable class sizes and enough qualified teachers to teach the classes.
2) I spend my non-contacts following up on behavioural and emotional issues of students of students with major problems. (i.e. working with guidance counselors, deans, conferences with parents because of students actions, meetings with principals). As the society issues increase, so do the behavioural issues in schools. Based on what I've seen It did not surprise me that there have been students carrying and using knives in our schools.
On other non-contacts I have helped my younger colleagues formulate their lesson plans, give them ideas on techniques to deal with behavioural issues, etc.
The government wants to take aways the non-contact periods--when in fact we need more.
3) Did you know that the average age of teachers in N.Z. is now 50? It used to be 30 just over 20 years ago. The young energetic teachers do not remain because of the demands that are placed on them from the start and the lack of income parity with other professions results in them leaving within a year or two. Contrary to the news... teachers are not rolling in the dough, but rather are losing standing on income and quality of life.
Let's get some income parity to reduce the burden of the older staff and so that we can retain the younger staff instead of continually retraining new teachers each year
4) I think we personally think deserve more than the 4% increase that the PPTA is requesting. You and I only have to go to the store to know that main food items have increased well over --example cooking oil is almost double the price from when I came here 5 years ago, goodness knows if I want to eat fresh fish I'll have to almost cut off my finger to pay for a kilogram.
There are many more reasons why today I'll be wearing black (and not because it makes me look thinner) and will be striking with my colleagues. I hope you support me with this.