On Tuesday 7th December, the New South Wales Teachers Federation had its first full day strike in ten years with the launch of the “More than Thanks” Campaign. I went to the rally in Sydney to support the cause. The rally was very well attended with an estimated 15,000 people marching from Hyde Park to NSW Parliament House. It was loud but peaceful. The only police interaction occurred when a group of people opposed to vaccination chose to interfere with the procession.
There is a chronic and worsening teacher shortage. This is especially concerning in “hard to staff” schools in rural and remote areas. Classroom teachers are opting not to step up to leadership positions because the workload is crippling and the extra pay not enough to cover the enormous increase in expectations. Principals are especially burdened by non-teaching related activities. They are expected to be business managers, accountants, HR managers, and expert teachers. They are expected to respond to parents on a nearly 24/7 basis. Further, many of the so called ‘opt-in’ processes are later deemed mandatory, leaving schools scrambling to collect the revered ‘data’.
Although the school was non-operational on that day, the comments on the school’s Facebook page were supportive. It’s obvious that if smart young people are not attracted to the profession it won’t be long before there is no-one qualified to teach our children.
I am subject to a Code of Conduct so it is not possible (even here on a private blog) to state my opinion only facts, but suffice to say I will willingly lose a day’s pay. You can read about the issues I chose to support on the NSWTF campaign website.
Covid lock downs and remote learning, has earned teachers lots of praise, but we need more than that. We need More than Thanks.