Some Tauranga teachers are ready to walk out of the classroom for good as tensions between the unions and Government reach boiling point.
However, the Education Minister is urging for further negotiations.
Yesterday's teacher strike action fulfilled the unprecedented scale expected, with more than 1000 Tauranga teachers filling the Tauranga Racecourse yesterday afternoon.
The crowds then took to the streets to strike for better pay and work conditions, parading down Cameron Rd as far as the eye could see on their 2km march.
People from as young as a few months old right through to their 80s joined in yesterday to get behind the city's teachers.
The strike was coined the "biggest strike this country had ever seen" and NZEI was not ruling out further action if necessary.
However, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government wanted the teacher unions back around the bargaining table and had been working to continue negotiations.
Eight Tauranga teachers told the Bay of Plenty Times they were considering resignation if things didn't change.
One, Bethlehem School teacher Anika Abbot, said she had seriously considered resigning if the Government did not step up because her career was coming "at a cost to her own children".
She said children with high learning needs were coming into the classroom more than ever before and she had no time in the day for her own children.
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Felicity Barton said she was also at the point of considering giving up teaching.
She said the current stalemate the teachers were in with the "stubborn" Government was "disappointing".
Carol Anderson, who was a Rotorua teacher 50 years ago, said learning needs were not properly recognised back when she was in teaching and it had only become worse.
She said she had a pupil in the 1970s who struggled and could not even write words on a straight line, so she worked tirelessly to provide methods to help him achieve this.
She said it was not until several years later the pupil was diagnosed with dyslexia.
"I can't imagine how teachers handle having more than one child in the class with these complex learning needs, along with 25 other pupils to support."
She said she would not recommend teaching to anyone nowadays.
From seeing teacher strike action through her years, she said "nobody ever listens and teachers have no other option".
Graduate teacher from Pāpāmoa College Nancy Cudby said teachers embodied so many roles for students and the funding to cater to their needs was simply not enough.
The Ministry of Education offered both NZEI and PPTA members pay rises of 3 per cent a year for three years, taking the total pay rise for a majority of teachers to 12.6 per cent over three years.
However, many teachers were putting more weight on the lack of release time and the heavy workload.
The PPTA wants an extra hour of non-classroom time for all secondary teachers, lifting non-contact time from five hours to six hours a week.
The NZEI wants two hours a week in non-contact time, plus reduced class sizes, more resource teachers and a special needs co-ordinator in every school.
NZEI's lead negotiator, Liam Rutherford, was down at the Tauranga strikes yesterday and said there needed to be a restructuring of Government for there to be teachers valued for their quality.
He said this had to be the "year of delivery" and did not rule out further strike action if necessary.
Deputy secretary early learning and student achievement from the Ministry of Education Ellen MacGregor-Reid said striking over $1.2 billion in pay offers did not offer a solution.
She said instead it caused disruption to the learning of many thousands of children and young people.
Facilitated bargaining through the Employment Relations Authority was the strongest form of assistance available to reach a negotiated settlement and the ministry was urgently applying for this, she said.
The Employment Relations Authority accepted the ministry's application for facilitated bargaining with the PPTA, despite the PPTA's objections, and were awaiting dates.
NZEI had also objected to continuing facilitated bargaining and the ministry was waiting to hear from the Employment Relations Authority about that, she said.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said teachers, students and parents all needed to see collective bargaining resolved.
"The Education Minister has already said teachers will be disappointed in the Budget and it's likely to be another example of wasteful spending and poor priorities from this Government."
Hipkins said the Government could not repair the damage done to education in the past decade but was totally committed to continuing to address teachers' concerns."
He said the Government understood the teachers' concerns and was making strong progress.
The ministry offered both unions pay rises of 3 per cent a year for three years, taking the total pay rise for a majority of teachers to 12.6 per cent over three years.
To address workload, the Government provided for 600 learning support co-ordinators, removed national standards, advanced a review of NCEA and offered additional release time in the offer.
The annual budget announcement will take place this afternoon.
Street view: Do you support the teachers striking?
"I support the teachers, they deserve better."
Gary Wyllie, 47, Ōtūmoetai
"I really do - my daughter and husband are both teachers and I've seen how hard it is first-hand."
Mariee Ardern, 61, The Lakes
"Totally. They give so much to our children, who will be the future leaders of tomorrow."
Michelle Wheatley, 43, Greerton
"I support them, they have to speak up."
Graham Brown, 67, Gate Pā
"Absolutely, I brought up five children and it was hard and it would definitely be harder now."
Veronica Hitchman, 75, Greerton