As an Intermediate teacher, the latest round of government cutbacks hit close to home. At one stage my school was looking to lose 3-4 teachers. The only thing worse than staffing higher classes was the very real prospect of not having a job next year. It was in no uncertain terms a kick in the guts.
So on one level yes it is good that the government has backed away from radically increasing class sizes. But I’m not entirely sure that teachers should be celebrating more of the same. Because there is still so much to do. I’m not talking about fights against national standards or performance based pay (although I have voiced my opinion on those issues previously) but I still don’t think we can go back to business as usual.
Now I might not know much about the game of politics, but I do that know that if you aren’t playing offence you end up playing defence. So my challenge to the leadership of the teaching profession is simple. Where is our alternative vision of what an educated student and how our system needs to change in order to achieve it?
If the lesson of the last few weeks is anything, it shows the awesome power that the New Zealand education community has when it is united behind a common purpose. What if we made our common purpose to ensure our kids got the best education in the world.
In the words of one of my colleagues from ignition, lets come together for something other than a strike.
Lets come together for learning.