Teach your children well, pay teachers better

Opinion 02/10/2018
Photo: File.

By: Roman Travers, RadioLIVE broadcaster

Opinion: So here we go again. More strikes. More demands. But do our teachers really deserve a better deal?

There are many teachers in our society who probably deserve to have their pay doubled. The ones who put in the huge hours of preparation throughout weekends and the extensive holidays they receive as well as making themselves available to parents late on weekday afternoons.

It’s the teachers who go the extra mile for their students, and that should be rewarded accordingly.

Teach your children well. Don’t expect our teachers to do the job for us.

Teaching is without question a vocation. Like being a nurse or a priest: you wouldn’t sign up for the job with the blatant intention of raking in vast quantities of money. It’s a multifaceted job that is so important in any society and without question, education is the cornerstone.

Why do we have such vast expectations of our teachers? We spend a few short years with our own children in a fulltime capacity before thrusting them into totally impractical shoes and uniforms, telling them they’ll be fine as we sever the ties at the school gates.

Most of us then proceed to become so immersed in the stresses of our own work that we don’t give our children’s education the focus that it requires.

Hand on heart here… I have raised two delightful daughters and at times I had very little idea of where their learning was at until we did parent teacher interviews. I now know that at this point, often the horse had well and truly bolted and the task of catching up was just that much tougher.

Most schools run on the oil of a smelly rag. Expecting them to pick up the shortfall with our children’s education is just unrealistic.

Teach your children well. Don’t expect our teachers to do the job for us.

Easier said than done right? When both partners in a family are probably working and there’s dinner to prepare, washing to do and a plethora of after school activities to taxi your children to and from… life is just busy. Double that stress when you’re a single parent or caregiver.

Finding the time to sit and listen to your children reading or help them work through a maths question is nearly impossible with the time demands on us all. It’s easier to see how tough the role of a teacher is when you also take into consideration the large class sizes that afflict your average state school.

This will only worsen if we can’t attract new teachers to the job. The integrated and private school setting where class sizes are minimal and teachers have the luxury of being able to actually teach is far out of reach for most of us.

Teaching is similar to the health sector. The more money that is thrown at it – the better the outcomes.

The future of New Zealand in terms of what we measure with economic success and global innovation is without question directly linked to the education of our children.

I say flood the education sector with the cash required that will allow all schools to have small classes and well-paid teachers who are in the job because they regard it as a rich and rewarding career.

Teachers are asking for a 16 percent pay rise over three years. That is totally fair and reasonable and we should want to pay the good ones more. But only the good ones.

Roman Travers is a broadcaster for RadioLIVE.