Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Unexpected Hiatus

 (Warning: Rant follows)

Today I was given a gift: a day off work which I didn't ask for and didn't want.  It's actually an expensive gift for the recipient, because it's going to cost me a day's salary.  But I had no choice other than to accept it.
I could have felt annoyed and angry (I do), and harboured resentment (I am).... for one thing, I don't like being told what to do by people for whom I have no respect, but also because:
I don't believe that strikes achieve anything other than to set the strikers up for vilification from members of the public, particularly those who have only been told, thanks to the press, about the requested salary adjustment ("demand" in journalese), which at 4% is actually irrelevant and which, even if granted, would not go anywhere near even touching inflation.  What are far far more important are the negotiations around our conditions.  NZ teachers are paid far less than in any other OECD countries (see article and table in this morning's NZ Herald).  And teaching in this country is very much an aging profession.  How on earth can we hope to attract young people into teaching, AND keep them in it, if they are poorly paid and expected to work so very hard??

I love my job. On weekdays I work an average of 10 hours a day, and 5-7 hours over the weekend.  People who really think that we work from 8.30 until 3.00 5 days a week and have all of those long holidays to swan around doing nothing just..... well, they leave me speechless.

There have been some good things about today.
  • spring is finally making some headway, and it is possible to believe that there will eventually be a summer

  • the tomatoes which I bought yesterday prove to actually have some flavour, and made a delicious lunch when sliced thickly on some warm wholemeal (Vogel's) toast which was liberally slathered with hummus
  • I just picked up Paul Auster's Invisible, which I have been meaning to read for months
  • if the rain holds off I should have time to take the dog for a much-needed walk (longer than the usual twice-daily blats around the block)
I've also managed to get quite a few reports done.  Yes, yes, I know, I should be showing solidarity with my colleagues by not doing any schoolwork at all today.  The opportunity to get through some of my 79 senior student reports was simply too good to let pass.

And.... I've had time to write this post.

Kia ora


  1. I admire your ability to find the positive in the negative.

    And FWIW, my wife is a teacher. And your perspective on the profession is bang on. Beautifully said.

  2. Thanks again, Carmi. It's exciting to find a comment when you least expect to :)

    I'm looking forward to seeing what the next Thematic Photographic topic is going to be - it's still Tuesday there, but it's nearly 5.00 pm Wednesday here!

    I really do love my job - I hope your wife finds it as endlessly interesting as I do.

  3. yes, making a good day out of a day that started out as not so good! yeah! love the pictures of spring!! and i really like the blog picture at top!! ...continue to have a good day!! :]

  4. Hi Alexia!

    I found you through my husband's (Carmi)blog. I love peoples' take on teachers. "We have cushy jobs, summers and holidays off..."

    I love teaching...I have been doing it since I was a little girl who lined up her dolls and "taught" them school. It's not easy, I work nights and weekends and don't get me started on report cards!! :o) But I love it. I could never imagine doing anything else!

    I'm glad you found so many lovely ways to spend your day off!


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