Dan Priest's alarm goes off at 6am every morning.
A bite of breakfast, a scruffle of his 2-year-old son's hair and a kiss for his wife and he is out the door.
As soon as the front door shuts, Dan's mind is on his 33 other children who will be beaming to see him when he arrives at school for work.
On the car ride to school, Dan makes mental lists of the many things on his agenda that day, and crams in some last-minute day-planning that he will need to put onto paper when he enters the classroom at 7.30am.
The 28-year-old is a teacher at Tauranga's Taumata School in Pyes Pa. He co-teaches 65 children with another teacher in an open learning space.
When the Bay of Plenty Times dropped by to get a taste of Dan's busy day as a teacher, the classroom was abuzz.
Pupils were tapping away on keyboards - both computerised and musical.
Some were drawing, writing stories, building Lego, or taking measurements in the outdoor area to plan where new picnic tables will fit.
It is clearly an innovative learning space.
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The Bay of Plenty Times found Dan in a small room called "the fishbowl" doing timetable lessons with a group of children.
By 9.15am, Dan has already done testing with one child, taken a full maths task group and had a one-on-one reading lesson with a child with extra learning needs.
The rest of the day will be similarly busy.
When asked if he would cherish his morning tea break, Dan laughs and says he will be trying to get things done in his break, so he will have less to do at home tonight.
Running the school choir and practising with children for the upcoming technology challenge will be how he spends his lunchtime.
When the final school bell rings, Dan's day is far from over.
After school will be spent in staff meetings, behavioural management team sessions and extracurricular help.
"Long gone are the days of after school as prep time," he said.
Dan rushes home at 5pm to grab two hours with his precious son before he is put to bed, then "the laptop is open and it's back to work".
From 7pm, Dan will be planning, marking, contacting buses and drafting safety plans for a school trip.
He is currently marking extensive writing assessments that take about 20 minutes per child - 33 pupils in all. He says this is normal.
As late as 11pm, Dan will still be up Facebooking his co-teacher with plans for the following day.
Then he gets some shut-eye before it is time to do it all over again.
When asked the simple "why do you do it?", Dan says it is because he genuinely loves the kids.
He loves the opportunity to make learning fun for a pupil or to spark a passion in them that they will take through the rest of their life.
He says he has his dream job at Taumata as he is able to break through traditional barriers of teaching.
Whether it is through programming robots, to creating a reading treasure hunt through the computer game Minecraft, he loves "creating a space where the kids' personal interests could help them maximise their learning goals".
However, Dan has genuinely questioned his career in teaching, because he does not have enough spare time for his young family.
With a young son and another little one on the way, he often wonders if the career is sustainable in the long-term because of the lack of release time.
He says if he was just going to print out a worksheet and sit the children down, then maybe the time would be enough, but he wanted to go "above and beyond" for them.
He says even just one hour of release time a day to get things done and he would be over the moon.
There are so many passionate and amazing teachers out there, who are dropping like flies out of the profession because of the workload, he says.
He often comes to school to work on Sundays to get things done and there are always other teachers also there dedicating their weekends for the children's sake.
"It's in those times I think 'what am I doing with my life?'"
He says: "We just want to be valued more.''
In the time the Bay of Plenty Times spent with Dan, it was clear from the smiles and bright eyes of the children they could not imagine the classroom without him.
In a plight for better conditions and pay, Dan will join other teachers across Tauranga to strike on Wednesday.
NZEI Tauranga representative Andrea Andresen said she had heard many cases of teachers throwing in the towel because of an unmanageable workload.
She said the Ministry of Education was always talking about pay, whereas the main problem for most was not having enough time to complete the ever-growing workload and it was consuming them.
Every full-time permanent teacher received a total of 10 hours' classroom release time per term, she said. NZEI was asking to double this.
Ministry of Education early learning and student achievement deputy secretary Ellen MacGregor-Reid said the Government had addressed workload by removing National Standards, which primary school teachers told the Ministry was driving workload.
It's in those times I think 'what am I doing with my life?' We just want to be valued more.
The Government's option two offer for primary school teachers, in addition to the salary increases, would offer primary teachers an additional 10 hours of classroom release time each year for three years.
This would mean the majority of teachers would benefit from an additional 30 hours of classroom release time for three years, and for those working part-time it would be pro-rated.