While thousands of teachers share pictures of the strike action today this is the picture I choose to share. Yesterday two high needs children decided to run out of a motivating, loving, and supportive classroom and cause hundreds of dollars of damage by smashing rocks into numerous outside walls. These young children were not angry or upset and a motive was near impossible to conclude.
These children and many many others come to school with incredibly complex issues, issues we as teachers are now overwhelmed with, issues teachers shouldn’t be held responsible to ‘cure’, issues that are becoming the norm in every classroom.
This is above and beyond that ‘naughty’ child that everyone remembers in their class. These kids need the highest level of support and care available to them. With 30 other little humans in our care we simply do not have the capacity in a school day to support such high needs.
The wait time for outside support and interventions for children such as these is months, sometimes years long. Countless hours to fill intervention paperwork, countless meetings, all the while teachers just have to cope as best as they can with children who need far greater support than any one individual teacher can provide.
Combined with huge workload in an undervalued profession where does that lead us?
Teachers are leaving the profession in droves:
40% reduction of new teachers entering the profession,
20% of all new teachers are leaving the profession within 5 years due to unsustainable workload, and burnout.
All while 40% of all New Zealand teachers are due to retire within the next 10 years.
A perfect storm for an absolute crisis.
Yes, a pay jolt would be an incentive for teachers to join and remain in the profession but this is not the biggest reason we walked off the job today.
We need more support in schools. We need to flood our schools with outside agencies, and critical health and wellbeing support services. Education needs to be more valued, we need to do this NOW for our kids and for New Zealand’s future.
I try my hardest to keep my work life away from social media but today for thousands of teachers this has been the day that our reality has been put into the spotlight, so here’s mine.