To the average person, a pay increase of between $9500 and $11,000 by 2020 would sound appealing.

That's what the Ministry of Education has put on the table to teachers who are members of the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) as part of the Government's latest $689 million offer.

And although there would be many around New Zealand who would love to accept such an offer, it was rejected by the primary teachers' union, which forced primary teachers and principals to take strike action around the Bay of Plenty yesterday.

But according to teachers, it's not all about the money.


It's also about better working conditions, which is something, I'm sure, most people can relate to.

They want issues such as workload and class sizes sorted and let's be honest, that can only benefit those who are influenced by our teachers - our children.

Underpaid and overworked teachers cannot be any good to anyone.

There are some amazing teachers in the world, doing great things and helping change and pave the lives of many children they come in contact with.

Those are the teachers we want to keep. We want them to continue what they are doing but they also need to feel valued or we won't get the best out of them.

I'm a huge believer in a happy team is a productive team but when they aren't being given the support they believe they deserve and have to fight for what they believe is fair, that has to have an impact - and we wouldn't want those teachers to be scared off from a career they are obviously destined for.

There are also other teachers, I'm sure many of us have come in contact with in our lifetimes, who make you question how and why they got into this career path. Those are the teachers you'd hope would get put off by the fight and choose an alternative option.

No matter what, teaching is not something everyone can do. It's a tough gig and knowing you are helping to steer the direction of young people is huge.


They care. And having children piled into classrooms without extra support for those teachers is no good for the future of New Zealand.

Without those caring teachers, what does our children's future look like?