PPTA Elections 2018: Junior Vice President
Kia ora te whānau o Te Wehengarua
I’m Joe Hunter from Otago. I come from a strong family history of teaching, learning and social activism. I live in an old house by the harbour with an artist, loads of books, RNZ, a big garden and an old dog as support crew. Teaching is the most interesting and challenging work I’ve known. I enjoy it immensely and I’m always learning.
I am part of the team taking our claim to the negotiating table to address the crisis of teacher supply and teacher workload through our collective agreement. We have the right to fair pay and good working conditions and our students have the right to learn in well-resourced local schools. We can be proud of all the work we do to advance quality public education and social justice.
We are facing huge challenges as a profession but we also have the capacity to make a real difference – not just for the students in our classrooms but in our wider society. This is the time to work collaboratively with government. PPTA is a professional body and we need to be at the forefront of change in education.
I think it is also time to review how we work as a union; to explore effective and meaningful ways of working and leading as a collective that serves all our members well. I’ve been an activist at branch, regional and national levels. Now I want to share your voice and represent secondary teachers on the Presidential team as Junior Vice President of PPTA. Thank you for your support – let’s bring out the best!
Mauri ora tātou!
We become teachers because we want to make a difference. We care about students, and we want to do all we can to ensure that they have the best opportunity for success. Teaching is an amazing job, but it is also an increasingly unsustainable one. Over the past year I have felt privileged to be a voice for teachers in expressing the concerns that many of us feel in the face of chronic and increasing teacher supply issues.
David Seymour likes to say “there’s a reason they’re called the teachers’ union, not the children’s union”. For me this couldn’t be further from the truth. Thanks to the strength of our collective, we remain the voice that stands up for the right for all students to a high quality public education. I am regularly reminded of this when I find myself the only practicing teacher in a room where policy that impacts not only teachers, but the students we teach, is being discussed.
We know that it is teachers that make the difference in the classroom, and yet all too often we are worn down by administrivia and continual underfunding. With these issues unresolved, an aging workforce (21% of secondary teachers are over sixty), and a decline in the number of new teachers willing to take up the mantle (34% fewer trained in 2015 compared to 2009), we are facing a significant crisis in staffing our schools.
We cannot simply stand on the beach watching the waves roll in. As a part of the presidential team, I will continue to sound the clarion call on these issues.