Wednesday, 15 September 2010

supporting the teachers

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.


Anonymous said...

I hope you're joking. Teachers are being greedy. Others in the public sector have had a nice pay increase of 23 - 27% over the last 10 years. Teachers have had an increase of over 45%.

Before you complain about prices going up, inflation has been 30% for the past 10 years total.

Even private sector employees don't get close to the 45% you teachers are getting.

"Income parity" with who? Australia? That is also a stupid comment to make. There isn't all that much difference in pay, up to $10k pa. Australians pay more tax, and have higher cost of living.

Income parity between sectors? Teachers starting salaries are normally 20 - 30% higher than other (qualified) professions.

30 in a class is nothing, 10 years ago I was in a class of 33. I'm sure a reduction of 3 students and an increase of (on average) $20k makes a bit of difference.

I'll just stop now.

Aliya said...


Do your research and don't just regurgitate what you've heard from on TV or read in the newspaper. In fact, your statement looks plagarized from today's News article. Why not quote your authorities? Perhap you didn't learn your responsibilities to do so in your jammed packed classrooms of 30 students.

Anyway... The stat you are relying on is false! The Ministry using the lowest pay amount a teacher could earn 10 years ago and is using the top rung of the pay scale now. The Highest amount at teacher with experience and PHD can earn in this country is $3,000 than what the Ministry claims is the average. Anne Tolley's numbers are false.

Next, the OECD just yesterday noted how poorly paid N.Z. Teachers are in comparison to the rest of the developed world...Thus the reason so many are going overseas.

Why can a beginning bureacrat at the IRD earn more than a beginning teacher?...That's the income parity people are talking about.

stargazer said...

anon, i will let your comment go in this instance, but we have been quite clear that anonymous comments require a consistent handle. it says so right above the comments box. further failure to comply will result in deletion of your comments.

and i see that you only focus on the pay aspect but totally ignore equally important issues like non-contact hours & class sizes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry stargazer, on most blogs Anon is precisely that.
Feel free to call me JohnNo


Teacher salaries - compared to inflation and private/public sector.

Australian salaries in Sydney.

I don't understand what your "researched" statistics are telling you...

Regarding the IRD analyst job, I think you will find they are paid around $50k pa with 2 - 3 years experience. So you take away 2 years experience and you will get yourself an average graduate income of $40k. What is your point?

If you became a teacher for money, unfortunately you should have chosen a different career. The same can be said for your teacher with a PhD. If they want to earn money, become a researcher in a private enterprise...


To be honest, I'm not all that concerned about non-contact hours. The arguement will always come back to teachers having to work a full days work. I will start work every day at 7:30 finish at 6:30 or later depending on my work load. I get paid slightly more than a first year teacher with a BTeach. I also only get 4 weeks holiday, yet you do not hear me complaining about non-contact times ;)

I did mention class size, just not at length because I had some work to do :) Due to the change in how teachers are meant to teach ie. modelled for each student, etc. I suppose you have a valid point. 10 -20 years ago teachers were not required to do that. So fair call on that.

Anonymous said...

Put simply stargazer.

I would be happy to support the request (demand) for smaller classes, not sure about the non-contact time, that may also be reasonable, but I would never support a 4% pay increase when class sizes and time spent not teaching are reduced.

If I asked any of my bosses from the past 6 years for a pay rise and a reduction in hours worked. I'm pretty much certain I would get a similar reponse to what Key gave you. That I need to live in the real world.


Scuba Nurse said...

Teaching as an image has changed too.
Back (well back) in the day, teaching was THE job for men and women *gasp* who done well, gone to uni had gotten a degree.
Today there are a vast number of dissilusioned professionals from other sectors (film, music, history, engineering, computors etc) who are not necessarily in teaching as a first choice.
There isnt the respect for teachers from either the students, or just as importantly, the parents.

I couldnt imagine working passionately in a job without respect, equally passionate co-workers and leaders, clear guidelines and updating of my education, not to mention overfull classrooms and the social issues that crop up.

Hats off to the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Any reason my second post wasn't put up? The one containing references to statistics proving my points?

Feel free to delete this.


stargazer said...

johnno, your second comment got caught in the spam trap. don't know why that's happening & it has happened a few times over the last couple of weeks. it has now been released.

If you became a teacher for money, unfortunately you should have chosen a different career.

and that is exactly the point made in point 3 of the post - everyone is choosing a different career, and soon there won't be anywhere near enough people left to teach our children.

Anonymous said...

Stargazer, I understand that many potential teachers baulk at the thought of earning a teacher's salary. Yet I see this as a blessing in disguise! Why would I want I want my children to be taught by someone who has money, rather than my child's best interests at heart?

My partner is a 2nd year teacher and she did not even consider the monetary side of things when she started studying. She is purely doing it because she enjoys helping students reach their full potential. Her students recognise this quality in her, and as a result her previously failing students now achieve as high and sometimes higher than the more "intelligent" streams at her school. Other than being hard to quantify, why do teachers not get performance based pay rises, rather than across the board increases which also benefit those teachers who underperform?


stargazer said...

so i assume you'd want all doctors to be paid minimal wages, as well as any other work that involves some kind of social service?

who, in your view, deserves a decent wage/salary for the work they do? and why do they deserve it more than teachers?

Anonymous said...

so i assume you'd want all doctors to be paid minimal wages

I'd quite happily be alive and illiterate, than literate and dead.

But in all seriousness, please remember that close to 85% of house doctors/surgeons work more than 50 hours a week. In most cases much more than this! They are also tasked with keeping the health of the nation, and (the cliché, but true) saving lives.

who, in your view, deserves a decent wage/salary for the work they do? and why do they deserve it more than teachers?

I'm not saying anyone deserves it more than teachers, despite you trying to put those words in my mouth. What I'm saying is that teachers do not deserve more money for less work.

But to answer you question, let's compare government funded jobs, apples with apples.

Doctors - As explained earlier.

Paramedics - See Doctors.

Police - Protecting Joe Blogger, while putting themselves at risk. Plus an assortment of other reasons.

stargazer said...

more money for less work

ok, i'm now going to have to put you in the category of "doesn't have a clue". less work than what? than they used to do? high school teachers have had a massive increase in workload because of NCEA. they are also having to do a lot more work related to behavioural and emotional issues, as mentioned in the post which it appears you haven't read. because if you had, you'd see that they also are coming under increasing physical risk.

but your point was that teachers should work for the love of the job, and not care about pay. you haven't explained why this should only apply to teachers, nor why other professions should care about pay while teachers shouldn't.

nor have you addressed the issue of the current shortage of teachers in the country, which is only likely to increase if they don't get a decent living wage.

Anonymous said...

stargazer unfortunately it seems you have lost faith in your own argument if you are resorting to petty insults. Perhaps I could go as far to call you a hypocrite. Why am I at fault for having a different opinion to you? Are you upset that I don't fit into your little box of what a New Zealander should be?

To answer your questions.
It's quite obvious what I meant with the more money for less work comment. If they get a 4% pay increase, class sizes are reduced below 30, and they have more "free-periods" then they must be earning more for doing less work.
How the logic behind that escapes you I have no idea. Perhaps it leans too far to the right.
As you are no doubt a labour supporter I should have expected this from you. Do no work and let the tax payer pay.

I actually did read the original post. Accoring to official police statistics there are around 2 assaults on teachers per day
(18000 teachers). This includes verbal abuse.

Compare that to police with over 6 closer to 7 assaults a day not including verbal abuse. (11,000 police officers, more than 3000 administrative)

I have explained why teachers should not be overpaid! I don't want people becoming teachers to earn money rather than give pour children educations.
Imagine if teachers were there for the money and didn't care whether their students achieved! I doubt you would be where you are today.

In any case I just commented on you blog because I had some "non-contact" time ;)
It seems that you are asking me to solve the problems, rather than letting me give my opinion which I am entitled to have. I don't even need to qualify my responses, yet I have.

Enjoy your afternoon.


Boganette said...

"I'd quite happily be alive and illiterate, than literate and dead."

Your privilege is showing.

LadyNews said...

"But in all seriousness, please remember that close to 85% of house doctors/surgeons work more than 50 hours a week. In most cases much more than this!"

What we also have to remember is that teachers don't just work 9-3 school days, but start earlier and finish later each day, often have staff meetings during lunch or after school, and have marking and assessment to do out of school hours too. And after introducing NCEA, and now with National Standrds, there an even heavier workload as teachers have to produce a lot of paperwork relating to the standards, and lots of reporting.

Additionally, what a lot of people don't realise is how much of their own money some teachers spend on school-related supplies; not because they are keeping-up-with-the-joneses style materialists, but because funding is inadequate, or supplies insufficient, or kids don't have food to eat for lunch. So some of the pay teachers receive isn't even kept by them.

And as for who deserves to be most highly paid?

"Doctors - As explained earlier.

Paramedics - See Doctors.

Police - Protecting Joe Blogger, while putting themselves at risk. Plus an assortment of other reasons"

What about nurses? Doctors and paramedics get a mention.... What about physios, and or someone who is a care worker for someone who is disabled? These are health-related jobs too.

And as for police, who put themselves at risk of harm; well, I think someone upthread mentioned that teachers also may face risk or physical harm (see recent two stabbings...). Obviously not all, but the risk does exist.

I would think that teachers, who are trying to nurture the future prospects of people who will grow up and contribute to society should be valued more. After all, if teachers can't teach to a good standard because we don't support them, then maybe there will be fewer kids who end up making it into med school and becoming those doctors who save lives and keep the rest of us healthy and who deserve to be well paid.

Anonymous said...

Boganette, what?

Anonymous said...

LadyNews, certainly please include those jobs. I was just making a point rather than giving an exhaustive list of all professions who I feel deserve a decent pay packet.

I know that teachers work more than 5 hours a day! I'm reminded each time I make a comment about the 12 weeks holiday teachers get. YES I KNOW they spend some of that time working!

Regarding abuse etc. once my other comment gets posted you will see some statistics on police & teacher assaults.

But I tire of this debate. Adios


Boganette said...

Dude do you need me to teach you? Ironic.

Privilege: "a special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste”

“such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others”.

Not a hard concept. Read your comment about literacy and CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE. K?

M said...

I'm on the fence with this one. I think non-contact hours are essential to being able to do a good job as a teacher. As a parent, I woud also like to see class sizes decrease - for the good of the children as well as the teacher. I support these two conditions whole-heartedly.
However, knowing that pay increases aren't happening in other sectors (and haven't happened for a few years in some cases), I don't feel I can support the 4% pay increase.
I understand that an increased pay packet could attract more/better teachers, and possibly help keep them there, but so would the better working conditions. I don't think entry level pay for teachers is that unattractive (I am considering it myself) and I wonder at the logic of asking for more money on top of the other conditions. How can the schools afford to employ more teachers to drop class sizes and allow more contact time for existing teachers, when their limited funds are absorbed in pay increases? Wouldn't it be more strategic to focus on the first two, then look at pay increases next year/further down the track?
Then again, how do class sizes drop when there aren't enough teachers because they want to be paid more...seems like a bit of a catch-22.

Anonymous said...

Dear Boganette,

I apologies for being literate and alive. I iunderstand that I have no right to comment on such things because I have an advantage over those who are dead, and/or illiterate.



LadyNews said...

I think what this comes down to is not valuing teachers, and not acknowledging the work that they do. Isn't the idea that teachers are meant to be growing the future? Too many people still hold onto 'just a babysitter'/'those who can't do, teach' views, and don't seem to think that resources need to be put into education. So maybe instead of having to choose pay rises OR more/enough non-contact hours OR more staff, an idea would be to not keep slashing funding for education and perhaps there would be money to have more than 1 out 3, or 2 out of 3.

Aliya said...


My researched stats are on my own pay cheque. I am at the highest payrate available to any teacher in N.Z. and that is presently $68,980.00....unless one takes on management responsibilities. Thus there is no way the the Ministry of Education's stats and Ann Tolley's statements are accurate (i.e. indicating that "The average teacher now earns $71,110") If the highest wage is 68,980 without taking on additional duties and work...then there is no way that average wage of teacher or the calculations of the Ministry are any way near accurate. To take the lowest salary available 10 years ago and use $3000 above the available income of the highest paid teacher to claim there has been a 45% increase is just ridiculous and show the willingness of this Government to scheme and lie to try and fool the public. Sorry you've been taken.

Again OECD report indicates how overworked and underpaid NZ teachers are (i.e. 200 more hours teaching each year than the average OECD educator...not just the Australian educators) and are salary package rates near the bottom of the all the OECD countries...not just Australia.

Finally, working conditions are the major point. We've had students bring knives to school. In the past two years, I've personally had a bottle thrown at me and had H.S. students kick at me and take swings at me in one incident in an effort to try and intimidate me when I asked them to stop throwing a rugby ball by school windows.

LadyNews said...

Sorry, that was in response to M

Aliya said...

Regarding 4% being too much. Please remember that inflation rate on consumer prices alone last year was 4%. See

Then let's add going forward that we are now dealing with a GST increase next month....Teachers are just asking to hold ground financially and to get decent safe working conditions.

Finally, I love teaching... but "Love doesn't pay the bills"

M said...

That's true, LadyNews. And it would be great to have that much funding to be able to show how much we value our teachers. They are doing a very important job. But there are other ways to show that too, and when funding is low then maybe we should look at them as well?
I am also looking at this from a bit of a jaded point of view, having personally experienced a lot of belt-tightening and a redundancy in the past 18 months, along with several close friends; I can't help but think if the money isn't there then it's time to find other solutions. After all, the extra funds have to come from somewhere - health? higher taxes? tightening up welfare again? Possibly unfair to project my personal situation on to other people, but there you go.

Anonymous said...

Aliya, it seems that you are once again, incorrect.

Check the first link I provided.

While the wording is slightly off check the graph titled "Comparison of average teacher pay". Look at the key and tell me again how my stats are incorrect...

Did you even look at the link I gave you? If you did, I really hope you aren't a maths teacher.

I'm sorry to hear that you have had trouble with violent students. Luckily the police are there to help with that!


Anonymous said...

stargazer. Another post of mine has vanished. It has important information for you!


Aliya said...


I certainly did look at the links...and that was why I wanted to explain to you why the Ministry is LYING and why John Key and Anne Tolley are as well. the average teacher does not get management units....and must take increased workloads to get the numbers they are claiming are "averages". To use a footnote or a parentheses to make a sound bite for the media to support a bad position is just sad.

Now I would happily have police in our schools...then I wouldn't have to deal with the outside behavioural issues
...unfortunately, no one is willing to pay for them to be there and the police themselves are claiming they are overworked and underpaid.

Anon, are you willing to dig into your pocket to fund the policeman for my school. If you are I'll take a lower pay increase for the safer conditions...for your kids, my kids and for the teachers and administrators I work with.

Anonymous said...


Then it seems you don't understand graphs! Look at the one I pointed out, it's rather simple and doesn't require a statistics degree.

Compare the lower bracket in 2000 to the lower bracket in 2010. or whatever else you want to on the graph. I'm not sure where they get the so called "average", and I'm not disputing that it is worded or explained incorrectly.
The fact is there has been a 45% pay increase over 10 years, nevermind if they have called it the wrong thing.

My old school had onsite police/community constable. I'm sure if your school was really that bad, it too would have onsite police! By the way, that funding came from the police budget, not our school's.

Anonymous said...

oops that last one was from me.


Aliya said...

JohnNo aka Anon,

As I said, I understood the is all smoke and mirrors. Much like your arguments.

Re the policeman

What you don't want to understand is that you'd have to reach into your pocket for a policeman whether it came out of the Minstry of Ed budget or the Police budget. Unfortunately, people don't seem to fund either of those sufficiently.

Finally, I must say Adiós (and I mean it...I did have hopes you did as well when you said it earlier...but it was not to be :)). I am actually going to spend time with my family...something I'm not normally able to do this early in the day as I'm usually just arriving back from work after teaching, attending long meetings and parent conferences...what is more I can dedicate the entire evening to them as well instead of marking and making lesson plans. What a life!

Pam G said...

Results from the International Adult Literacy Survey conducted in New Zealand in March 1996 by Maurice Walker and Karl Udy may help you understand where Boganette is coming from Anon.

Three important findings from the study that you may wish to consider were that "The majority of Māori, Pacific Islands people and those from other ethnic minority groups are functioning below the level of competence in literacy required to effectively meet the demands of everyday life" and "Labour force status and income are related to level of literacy" and "Māori with tertiary qualifications have literacy profiles similar to those of tertiary educated European/Pakeha".

Like Boganette I too have a short fuse when it comes to privileged Pakeha making jokes about literacy without ever considering how many New Zealanders are denied that basic right through class, status or colour.

- Pam G

stargazer said...

johnno, i've released your comment and fail to see any useful information. in fact, you again show your lack of understanding with this comment"

class sizes are reduced below 30, and they have more "free-periods" then they must be earning more for doing less work.

teachers are NOT asking for class sizes to be reduced. the ministry is demanding that caps on class sizes come off so that class sizes can be increased, with no upper limit. nor have they been asking for "free periods". they are asking for recognition for the out-of-class work that is a requirement of the job.

as for your "I don't want people becoming teachers to earn money rather than give pour children educations.", again you have failed to make the case for why this shouldn't apply to all professions. eg i don't want people becoming police officers to earn money rather than give "pour" communities safety. i don't want people becoming doctors to earn money rather than give "pour" people access to healthcare. i don't want people becoming engineers to earn money rather that give "pour" communities safe roads, buildings & the like. you continue to fail to explain why teachers should have this restriction of "not being there to earn money", when you don't place it on other professions. nor does your either/or dichotomy stand. it is possible to care about children's education & expect a decent salary for the hard work put in. if anyone is overpaid, it certainly isn't teachers. i'd suggest you turn your attention to CEOs & directors of corporations, to heads of our ministries and the like if you want to find people who are overpaid compared to the hours of work they put in.

as for your being "entitled to give your opinion", remember that you are a guest in our space when you comment on this blog, and your entitlement is limited to that which we choose to let you have. of course, you could choose to express your opinion on your own blog, in which case your entitlements would be unlimited.

A Nonny Moose said...

So, to summon up JohnNo's privileged pontificating, he's advocating teachers:

- work longer hours, with disregard for lifestyle and family
- earn less, with disregard for inflation and a rising cost of living
- work in unsafe environments, without back up or social help

And you want them to do this for the LOVE of it? Oh oh wait, you have a family member who is a teacher ("I have a friend who is gay/black" trope!, so you know ALLLLL about it. I'm sure if your "partner" saw the way your were appropriating their experience and talking for them, they might be a little annoyed.

But possibly your partner is privileged too, and working for a private school. That's the only way you could be "happy" with their pay/conditions. Either that, or you're invested in making sure that she earns less than you.

A Nonny Moose said...

Actually, I'm highly amused by the idea of JohnNo going up to his teacher partner and saying "Hey! You're being greedy! You don't deserve a pay rise!" like the way he's speaking here.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A Nonny Moose, she actually said herself, with no prompt from me, that she disagreed with the demands of the PPTA. But she was willing to support them.

Yep that's me, trying to hold back women.


stargazer said...

um no johnno, you can't say what you want in our space. your comments now amount to trolling & abuse & i'm asking you to cease. i've deleted one of your comments & will delete any further ones that are in a similar vein.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stargazer said...

it was entirely fair, and you seem to think that your juvenile talking points are something new on this blog. sorry, but we've seen off the likes of these many times over. you don't have a clue about privilege, & it is not our job to educate you. you've earned nothing and learned nothing but arrogance. you don't have a clue about anything much really, if you can use the words "purely labourers" without realising that no school could exist without these "labourers", neither could any organisation.

but i'm not going to allow comments that are abusive to others here who are suggesting quite appropriately that you educate yourself. nor are you going to get a platform to flaunt your privilege nor denigrate others at this blog.

stargazer said...

because i can't delete part comments here, i'm reposting the part of your comment that wasn't objectionable:

teachers are NOT asking for class sizes to be reduced.

Ok fair call. They only want it to be limited to 30. What I heard is that average class size is 22.7. Not bad, is it... It seems that only year 9 and 10 really ever push past the 30 mark.

If you disagree, please read the SCTA claims presentation from the PPTA.

CEOs and Directors
Compare them with principals or headmasters, not teachers. They are tasked with managing and giving direction to companies/schools. Teachers are purely labourers of the "business".

In all honesty, I only have a problem with underperforming teachers getting the same benefits that good teachers get.


Anonymous said...

Explain to me what my priviledge is then.

Juvenile talking points? Once again, for a lack of a better arguement, you resort to petty name calling.

nomadjohnnyquentin (at)


A Nonny Moose said...

Oh FFS JohnNo, Google "feminism 101". As Stargazer says, it's not our job to have to walk you through concepts that people should be up to speed on an activist political theory blog. It derails the conversation.

It is your responsibility to teach yourself about your "privilege". And if you can't recognize it, or come back here whining that you are of some repressed intersection in spite of, then you have completely missed the point.

Ack. Now you made ME derail.

As for "what your partner said": very easy to put words in her mouth when she's not actually saying it here herself. How are we supposed to believe that beyond your word, considering how opposed you are towards the discussion.

Sandra said...

Average class sizes of 22.7?!!
If they have managed to find figures to create such a claim without lying, then I can only suggest that they are creating meaningless averages (even then i am suspicious of such a figure). Small classes at year 13 will bring the average figure down, but the reality for every school I have taught at is class sizes of 30 for years 9 & 10 and 28 at year 11. This year we have a number of year 12 classes between 30 and 34 in number.

The growth in compliance paperwork in the last year alone for NCEA is considerable. I would favour an industrial action where we refused to moderate senior work or enter it onto NZQA until the government addressed the effect of the current administration burden on teachers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stargazer said...

anon, i've removed your comment because you did not put in a handle as per the clear directions right above the comment box. feel free to post again, but complying with our requirements.

and please take some time to get informed before you do comment. you don't appear to realise that teachers need time to prepare lessons, they also are involved a LOT of non-contact work, from staff meetings, patrolling the grounds, coaching, school plays, meetings with parents, etc. maybe find out about the job and what the actual hours are, before you show your ignorance again.