An Auckland intermediate school pupil has made an impassioned plea to Education Minister Chris Hipkins to change his mind and support the teachers.
The primary teachers' union, the NZ Educational Institute, is striking today for only the fourth time in its 135-year history.
Up to 10,000 teachers, children and parents are expected to march up Auckland's Queen St, and many more are expected to take part in similar rallies around the country.
Takapuna Normal Intermediate year 8 pupil Eloise Burgess has written a letter to Hipkins, calling on him to not only consider teachers' pay, but their need for better resources.
"I sent the letter [to Hipkins] to get the message out there. It is an important issue. If we don't get proper education it affects our futures."
Eloise, whose favourite subject was writing, said she and her friends had been discussing the issue and were all supporting the teachers.
"We feel it is unfair on them that they even had to strike. They aren't paid enough."
Her mother Melinda Gendall, who often helps out at her son's school, said she too supported the teachers.
"Things like children learning a second language, and more behavioural needs, are putting huge strain on teachers. People think they have it easy, finish at 3pm and have loads of holidays, but it couldn't be further from the truth."
Gendall was home today looking after her two children and the child of a friend who had to work.
Eloise Burgess' letter
I want a future. A future where I don't have to worry. Worry about my education, or that of my children, where he or she should get the best out of life. My name is Eloise Burgess, and I am 12 years old trying to help support the teachers who support my learning at Intermediate School. I would love to say that I am having a great time there, which I am, but there is one thing I would like to see change. Only one thing is stopping me from loving this school, this whānau. I believe these dedicated and hardworking teachers should be recognised for their commitment and their passion put in every day for their students. I love all the teachers at my school, they are kind, amazing role models and even more so supportive in every way possible, and only want the best for us students. So why would these teachers withdraw their help? Why would they drop their support from these children?
One of my main concern is the way in which I can see less and fewer teachers and more and more split classes. Recent studies have shown that there are less and fewer relievers whilst teachers on strike. There are also fewer people choosing to teach as a profession. On top of this a significant proportion of experienced teachers are leaving the profession or due to retire, so where does that leave my future? What I can see happening are more and more split classes where there are no teachers to set tasks for the children impacting on reduced learning. It's all just "makeup" work which we most likely know.
My teacher says to always be positive. To look on the bright side of things even when there is no hope left. I can't find a bright side, neither can my teacher, but the days leading up to the strike my teacher tried her best to put on a smile and try to give her very best and not let her personal life get in the way of her teaching. We need more people like my teacher, more people who see the best in everyone. Who doesn't let their life affect their support for a child? Who tries the very best in whatever he or she does. I want you to reflect on what I've said and asked yourself this. If I were one human, how many lives can I change? The answer is simple, you help these incredible humans in what they do best and with a little help and support they can make a child's future.
I strongly believe that you can help by, listening to these amazing leaders. I believe you should not only consider their pay but also consider their need for better resources. Also, consider the different needs within the classroom that a teacher needs to take care of, some examples include: Second language English students, special need support students and many more. The teachers need to equally provide enough attention to each 31 or more students in the classroom and each of them needs to feel included.
I hope you feel as motivated and captivated as I am to helping these incredible people. Recognize the way in which they make a difference, a change for the better. I know I am only 12 years old and I can't do much but I'm doing all I can for what I know is right. I hope that, despite the fact I am only one voice, I can still have an impact on government's decision and change the way you think, realising that damage has been done, but it is not too late to make the right decision.