Teachers are - in my view - some of the hardest working and undervalued people in New Zealand.
Sure, they get more official holidays than most, but a chunk of those holidays are spent preparing for the next term. And while school hours may be a leisurely 9-3ish for kids, you would be hard pressed to find a teacher that manages the same.
About 1200 educators attended a union meeting in Rotorua yesterday to learn more about the government's 'global budget' proposal - which is being widely compared to bulk funding - a scheme that has failed in New Zealand before.
Meetings have been held around the country, including in Tauranga and Whakatane.
There has been some negativity on social media from parents about teachers leaving classes early to attend the 1.30pm meeting. Most of that seems to be around the inconvenience in having to pick children up early rather than a serious concern for those lost couple of hours of education.
But on the whole teachers have garnered much support, with many people recognising it was a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.
The meeting does not appear to have been motivated by selfish reasons. Fears have been epressed the proposed funding system would lead to the increased "casualisation" of teacher jobs and pressure to hire cheaper, less experienced teachers.
But a huge part of it is concern what the proposal could mean for Kiwi children, and the quality of education they receive.
Teachers have the right to know everything they can about what could be a massive change to how schools are run and they have the right to voice their opposition to those changes - if that is what they decide.
Frankly, it would concern me more if teachers didn't care enough to want to have a say.
Whatever the outcome of the meetings, the view of the teachers must be taken seriously. After all, they are the ones at the coalface and, in my view, have the best interests of children at heart.