Children’s education affected by teacher shortages
John Russell, principal of Naenae College and member of the Secondary Principals’ Council has made a surprise amendment at the PPTA conference that teachers receive an immediate 5 percent pay rise as interim measure to relieve teacher shortages.
Russel, a principal for 29 years said "This is the price we are paying for letting teachers’ pay equity drop against the average wage. In a recent survey 80 percent of principals said they were having to compromise on appointments because teacher shortages are so dire."
"In my 29 years as a principal I have seen the tide coming in and going out. I can tell you that the tide is moving further and further out."
"Now is the time to inject some energy and reality into this situation," he said "This is a fundamental first step towards dealing to this crisis. We need to get on with the job."
Secondary teachers are discussing how to deal with the negative affect on children that are the consequences of growing teacher shortages at their annual conference in Wellington today.
PPTA member and teacher, Austen Pageau explains the triple whammy seriously eroding teacher recruitment and retention.
“A large proportion of ‘baby boomer’ teachers will leave the teaching workforce in the next 10 years, more teachers are leaving teaching to take up more financially rewarding careers and fewer people are being attracted into teaching. 40 percent of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years and we’re not even training enough new teachers to keep up with the demand now, let alone for the roll growth we’re expecting over the next 10 years.”
“We are already in a situation where children are missing out because teachers are being forced to teach outside their subject areas, courses are being cancelled, class sizes are increasing and schools can’t even get relieving teachers,” Pageau says.
“We know, parents know and school principals all know what is happening – we just can’t understand why the government has not taken steps to address the recruitment and retention problems. Despite the recommendations in two 2016 reports they have taken no steps to improve pay, which is falling far behind what is needed to recruit and retain teachers. There have also been no meaningful steps taken to reduce teachers’ excessive and bureaucratic workload, which is the second major factor contributing to teacher shortages.
“Teachers and principals hate being in this position. We become teachers to help children reach their potential and we do our absolute best but things have got to a point where teachers are burning out and leaving. We have to speak out.”
“Our conference will figure out how to get the action we need to address this crisis before it gets any worse. We expect it to be an interesting session.”