Unite over shared need for better working conditions on 9 June

“I want two hours of additional release from face-to-face teaching that will enable us more time to be able to respond to student needs,” said Chester Hill Public School Federation Representative Chantelle Baker.

She recognises that if members want improvements to their working conditions they must respond collectively, at a scale equal to the problems that beset their working lives, so will be tuning in to a special, live online broadcast for all school members on 9 June at 4pm.

“It’s going to take all of us,” Chantelle said. “All teachers should tune into the 9 June broadcast to show solidarity in the campaign, to show … that we are committed to doing all it takes to do the best for our students and the future of the profession.”

Federation Representatives in all schools have been asked to call a meeting of all members to watch the 45-minute broadcast, during which Federation’s Presidential Officers will provide an important campaign update on workload, wages and the future of the profession.

Build momentum for change

Bankstown Senior College Federation Representative Raymond Hicks wants a reduction in administration, so he has more time address individual need in his classroom (more than 80 per cent of students at his school have English as an additional language or dialect and 26 per cent have a refugee background).

“We are expected to work on arbitrary administrative documents rather than focusing on students who need us, so the students go without but our paperwork is up to date,” he said.

“While we have the correct allocation of qualified EALD teachers, it’s rare we get time to discuss with our own faculty, let alone inter-faculty discussion with the English/EALD faculty.”

Raymond will be watching the 9 June transmission and stresses the need for all school members to do likewise, to build momentum for constructive changes to their work circumstances.

“Now is the time to engage in the campaign and stand up for the future of the profession.”

Show of unity

East Hills Girls Technology High School Fed Rep Asimina Rae said implementation of the recommendations of the Gallop report would set a firm foundation for recovery of the profession, and therefore will be logging on to the 9 June briefing and urging her colleagues to watch too.

“It’s important that we show we’re working collectively and that we’re united,” she said.

“I’ve got permanency but the workforce has been casualised and it’s not attracting people to the profession any more. We’ve got shortages in day-to-day casuals and people are reluctant to take their leave or go on professional learning because they don’t want their kids without a teacher. We ask favours of teachers to cover classes so we miss out on preparation periods.”

Critical year for action

“Wages commensurate with our skills and responsibilities are important because that will attract people to train as teachers and work in schools,” said Villawood East Public School Fed Rep and Canterbury-Bankstown President Matt Eastman.

“At the moment people look at teachers’ pay and the workload and ask: ‘Why would I do that?’.”

He urges all school members to attend the workplace meeting arranged for 4pm on 9 June, to be informed about Federation’s workload and salaries campaign and demonstrate solidarity.

“This is the year that will impact the rest of our teaching careers.”