New Zealand’s Self Inflicted Teacher Crisis

Posted By on October 16, 2017

New Zealand is suffering a critical shortage of teachers. It’s become so bad, many schools where a teacher resigns, will have to redistribute the students to other classrooms and create classes that are well over the class size limit.

In some cases, the shortage is so bad that a teacher resignation could force schools to turn classes into mixed year classes, part way through the school year. Teachers, already overloaded will have to suddenly rewrite their plans, alter their student registers and completely reorganize their rooms. This sort of chaos actually promotes teachers leaving the system, exacerbating the problem.

This fiasco is the result of an out of touch government, concerned purely with economics, at the expense of its own people. Successive governments from both sides of politics have repeatedly cut the education budget. Teachers don’t have time to get involved in political lobbying. If they do speak out they are labelled too militant by their bureaucrat employers, who don’t want to admit the system is broken because the politicians will place the blame back on them.

Ironically there are plenty of trained teachers in New Zealand who are currently in other areas of employment. As a teacher, it is easy to lose yourself in the world of teaching, so many like to get out in the “real world” for some “real world” experience. Often this involves travel and teaching overseas. These teachers are a valuable asset to the profession. Some have left to become parents of their own children. Their broader experience makes them far more relatable to both parents and students alike.

Unfortunately the New Zealand education system doesn’t acknowledge this fact. Instead they want these teachers with their added life experiences to retrain, refusing to give them any credit for their past experience, even if it was teaching elsewhere . But it gets worse! . . . They also demand these teachers pay an additional $4,000 for the retraining.

Is it any wonder there’s a critical shortage of teachers in New Zealand?

Even if the government was to treble the intake of teacher trainees, those teachers would not begin teaching for another three years at least and how will they perform, compared to teachers with decades of experience in the field and as people who have not only taught children but actually raised them?

It’s time the New Zealand government woke up and recognized this asset, right under their noses. Recognize and reward their experience.

Provide a fully paid re-integration course to welcome these living treasures back into our education system.

This will create highly skilled and experienced teachers, ready to step into the classroom in a matter of weeks, not years.

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