You will be happy if you have a primary school attendant that this morning is back to normal after yesterday’s inconvenience.

But who knows maybe there’s more where that came from.

Strike action is normally a futile exercise. What is offered at the start and what is settled for in the end isn’t actually that large.

We saw that with the nurses. It was a generous offer to open, it stayed a generous offer and although they shuffled what they had about a bit, what was on the table stayed on the table and that’s what was settled on.

This of course is mainly an exercise for the unions.

They need to be seen to be active in the industrial landscape, and the best way of going about that is to agitate, organise a strike, wave a few placards and put out some press releases about their members being undervalued.

In this case, teachers are undervalued.

The plight of a teacher is a dreadful one.

I have nothing but admiration for good teachers but in that is the conundrum.

Not all teachers are good but all teachers are paid the same. When you pay everyone the same you end up with the good ones being ripped off and the poor ones being over- protected.

The teachers, like the nurses, at this stage have most of us on board.

I think it’s fairly widely accepted that a good teacher doesn’t earn enough and that the profession is undervalued.

That by and large they do amazing work with our kids and sadly the social baggage they have to deal with is increasing every day. The school is the repository for more and more of our social ills.

Where once they taught maths and science, these days it’s also the psychological services — lunch, welfare, counselling and all-round mop-up artist. But here is the odd thing about the profession.

No matter what they eventually settle on a couple of things won’t change.

One, they’ll be back at the end of this pay round with the same requests and the same complaints because that’s how industrial relations work.

And two, just what is it the young trainee was thinking they were getting into?

Teaching is a vocation, always has been, always will be.

It is not a path to riches, and this pay round isn’t going to change that.

So what was in the mind of the trainee when they signed up?

Why is there such a disconnect between what they thought they were taking on, and what they get in the classroom?

Why are so many of them so disillusioned?

Why is the actual job such a surprise to so many?

As we have seen with the aged-care workers, pay is not a solution to these sort of jobs.

Some of the aged-care workers got a 50 per cent pay rise, and still the industry cannot fill the gaps.

The dissolution that drives the teachers’ action is not pay-related despite what they say.

My suspicion is it’s the paperwork, the societal expectation, the endless messing with the system, yet this Government is conducting more reviews.

And for many it will be the soul-destroying reality that your individual efforts are not rewarded the way they are in most other professions.

Good people deserve good money, good people are inspired by some sort of financial incentive and reward system, they’re inspired by recognition of talent and skill, yet through the union outlook that particular approach is banned.

By banning it, you dumb it down, you suppress individualism, you stifle individual pursuit.

Every parent knows it and has seen it, everyone of our kids has had the rock star and the time-server.

You want to give the profession the respect it deserves? Start by creating a pathway that empowers excellence.

Give the best a reason to be better, and the slacker a reason to be worried. The longer the profession thinks a placard and a day off is the answer, the further away from that solution we are.

Source: NZ Herald


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