Gore teachers, principals and members of the public took part in the nationwide teacher strike for the Kua tae te wa, also known as the It’s Time campaign.
NZEI Hokonui chairwoman Dana Turnbull said the campaign meant it was time to lead, teach and learn.
Mrs Turnbull said it was time for teachers to send a strong and clear message to the Government that their working conditions and what teachers had to contend with on a daily basis was significant, and teachers were faced with many challenges.
“It’s really important that everyone comes together and has a united approach nationwide, as it’s really powerful,” Mrs Turnbull said.
Mrs Turnbull said many events had been held throughout New Zealand for the strike.
“There’s been lots of really cool events planned right across the country.
“I think it’s really important for our community, to keep raising community awareness and community perception.”
The Ministry of Education offered a pay rise ranging from about 2.2% to 2.6% a year for three years, for most primary school teachers.
The offer was rejected and, as a result, the strike has followed.
Some of the issues teachers were facing included workload, staff retention problems, class sizes, and resources to support children with learning difficulties.
“If we don’t do something now, then what does that look like for us in the next five years?” she said.
“We’ve got to get young people wanting to choose this as a career and at the moment that’s looking pretty dismal.”
Mrs Turnbull said it was important to note teachers were not being paid for the strike day.
“This is coming out of our own pocket, so we’re putting our money where our mouth is and we want the best for our kids and for our future leaders of tomorrow.”
Staff under stress
The reality was that if teaching was such an easy profession more people would be lining up to train, she said.
Education helped build the future of New Zealand, Mrs Scott said.
She questioned if the Government wanted to invest in that future.
NZEI Hokonui branch chairwoman Dana Turnbull, who was among the thousands of teachers to strike earlier this week, agreed the priority was not just raising salaries.
Additional support to help children who often had a myriad of different and sometimes complex needs was also a focus for teachers.
“It’s to help the children walking through the doors,” Mrs Turnbull said.
The demands placed on teachers had changed.
“No longer is this a 9 to 3 job – those days are long gone,” she said.
Some pupils had significant needs, including those associated with behaviour and learning difficulties, she said.
Others needed help working through issues related to blended or disjointed families.
There were also social and emotional needs that teachers were often called upon to resolve.
“It’s more than teaching now.”
Teachers were guidance counsellors, fill-in parents and coaches.
“We’re stretched to full capacity.”
It was vital additional resources were given to teachers, as children needed to have problems resolved before they could learn, she said.
“We are doing our best to cater for individual needs but we feel really stretched, we need support.”
Teachers were helping the leaders of tomorrow to learn, she said.
“We are really excited we’ve got support across the country and we stand united.”