It's easy to come to a view that teachers protest too much.

On the face of it, they have jobs many would envy. Long breaks from work, especially over summer, excellent working hours that allow work-life balance: What's not to like?

If only it were that simple.

Many teachers, it seems, are increasingly disillusioned with their profession. They cite a lack of resources, long hours, increasing work pressures. A leading Bay principal recently announced his departure due to these factors. Dane Robertson left Kaimai School saying growing workloads and not enough resources were the final straw.


He was a highly respected educator. In 2011/2012 Robertson joined the Western Bay of Plenty Principals' Association and became president in 2014.

It's concerning people of Robertson's calibre are walking away, taking their skills, knowledge and experience with them.

Robertson's departure came just days after hundreds of Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty teachers marched down Mount Maunganui's main street as part of a nationwide strike for the first time in 24 years.

Primary teachers are now considering a new pay offer - more for experienced teachers, but less than the previous offer for beginning teachers.

The Ministry of Education has offered a flat 3 per cent pay rise each year for the next three years across the pay scale, giving all teachers a cumulative 9.3 per cent pay rise by 2020.

As reported yesterday, some teachers are coming to work sick as schools struggle to find relief staff to cover absences.

Principals from Gate Pa, Fairhaven and Rotokawa schools and teachers felt they could not call in sick if they knew there was no one to cover their shifts.

On the one hand, schools are advising parents to keep their sick children at home, yet teachers themselves are having to struggle on through illness because of staff shortages.

Even if teachers accept the latest pay offer is unlikely to solve the broader resourcing issues facing the sector, which, even to a casual observer, are alarming. Officials need to take a hard look at the pressures schools are under and take action.