Opinion:

It’s business as usual again today for schools across the country – kids back into uniforms this morning and back into classrooms.

But how long before the next strike?

I imagine teachers today will be feeling a mix of emboldened from the level of support yesterday from parents, while at the same time disappointed by some of the PM’s comments.

In meeting the protesting teachers, Jacinda Ardern said that they had a right to strike, but she felt they’d left the negotiating table too soon. That the strike was premature.

That didn’t wash well with the NZEI union, which hit back claiming their issues are longstanding and they haven’t taken strike action in 24 years – and as far as they’re concerned, they’ve waited long enough.

More talks are set down for next week, we should know by next Friday whether teachers are satisfied with the outcome or whether there’ll be a further round of strikes.

Either way, teachers do deserve better.

I think it’s widely accepted nowadays that teaching is much more than just marking the roll and giving out homework.

It’s an all encompassing job of managing behavioural issues, being secondary parents, social workers, and life counsellors. It must be draining, and at times soul destroying.

But here’s the rub.

Sadly, like all professions, there are good and bad teachers.

The sympathy for their plight from parents, in all reality, probably comes down to the personal experiences of our kids.

If you have a kid coming home in awe of their teacher you’re likely to be supportive, but if you have kids coming in the door complaining their teacher is hopeless, it’s likely you’ll be disillusioned.

Like most families, we’ve had both experiences with our kids: teachers who seemingly don’t care, teachers who are more political than instructive, teachers who’ve moaned to the class that they hate their job.

Likewise, we’ve had fantastic teachers who’ve lit a fire of passion in a subject, who’ve shown great sense of humour or skill, who’ve worked hard to understand how the kids work or what they need.

A teacher, depending on their approach, can make or break a subject, make or break a school experience.

It’s a pivotal role. They’re the coal face and often the reason a child loves or hates school.

As a parent, it seems easy to support the good teachers, it’s a tougher ask for us to get in behind the useless ones.

Source: NZ Herald

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