Association Spotlight: St George Teachers Association

Number of members 1767
President Wayne Sheridan
Secretary Jason Bulfon

Our meetings We moved to a new venue this year at the Kogarah High School staff common room, which is more convenient to members and attractive to those who would prefer not to attend meetings at licenced premises. The Association holds lucky door prizes at meetings, with the winner in recent years receiving Federation merchandise.

We have started to host dinners following the last association meeting of the year at a local restaurant, to support the local community and build a sense of comradery for our members.

Meetings are reasonably formal but all members have the opportunity to present workplace reports, which provide a forum for a wide range of issues, as well as giving our Organiser Paul Robson the opportunity to provide on-the-spot advice, where appropriate. Meetings generally attract 20-plus members, but not always the same people. The Association executive usually meets between Association meetings.

Our community The St George area extends from Cooks River in the north to Georges River in the south and from Botany Bay in the east to Riverwood in the west. Within the area there are 35 primary schools, 14 high schools, two Intensive English Centres and four Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs). The area is culturally and linguistically diverse. Our Association covers the state electorates of Rockdale, Kogarah and Oatley and the federal seats of Barton, Cook and Banks.

Our challenges One of the challenges is increasing the number of members at meetings. We also aim to engage more members in the running of the Association.

Our teachers Across the Association there are teachers with a broad range of teaching experience, including a significant number of temporary/casual teachers.

Our work During the first half of the year, the focus was on the Fair Funding Now! campaign, as the Association area covers large areas of Banks, which was a target seat in the federal election campaign. We provided assistance with various Fair Funding Now! campaign events including leafleting sections of the Banks electorate, railway stations, door knocking in targeted areas in Banks, pre-poll voting centres and polling places on election day. During the second half of the year, the focus has been on local issues including upskilling members in how to instigate action at a school-based level and on a larger scale for any future campaigns. A number of deputations were made to local state members in support of the Week of Action focusing on the pay anomaly affecting pre-2016 teachers.

During 2018, the Association, in conjunction with Trade Union Training, held a number of seminars for members looking at the accreditation process for permanent and temporary/ casual teachers. At the end of 2018, the Association held a dinner to celebrate the centenary of Federation.

Our executive In addition to the standard positions of president, vice presidents, secretary, minutes secretary and treasurer, the Association has a number of contact positions: publicity, women’s, Aboriginal education, special education, casual and temporary teachers, LGBTIQ and beginning teachers.