Now, they wait and see if it made a difference.
After months of stalled negotiations and a series of rejected pay offers between teachers and the Government, those in the profession, instead, swapped pens for placards.
Teachers from 161 schools in the Hawke's Bay/Tairawhiti region were among the 50,000 primary, intermediate, and secondary school teachers who walked off the job Wednesday in the largest and first ever combined strike for the profession.
Teachers gathered at prominent intersections and roundabouts around Napier and Hastings, before heading to the Napier soundshell and the Hastings clocktower before midday.
Hawke's Bay Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) branch chairman Bevan King was "pleased" with how the industrial action went and now hopes something will come of it.
"It's hard to predict the future and where things are at, but it would be lovely if it could. We need it to. Something needs to happen."
He said the community was really positive.
King was one of several speakers at the Napier rally which attracted a crowd of roughly 500 people, including teachers, parents, and children.
Year 13 Taradale High School student Rachel Lockwood shared a few words.
The aspiring teacher said although she had been told she would be good at being a teacher, many already in the profession told her she "shouldn't".
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"One teacher told me, that the future is scary for teachers. That if I could do anything else in the world, I should listen," she said.
"If you want to own a house when you grow up, don't become a teacher."
She said it was scary to think of the current state of the profession she so desperately wanted to get in to.
"I find out that every day, there are less and less teachers coming into schools, and the ones that are there are underpaid and stretched to the limit.
"They don't deserve the blame game, or the disregard. Teachers do their best, all day every day, and they don't ask for much. But just this once, they need to be listened to.
"We have hit rock bottom. And when I say I want to be just like the teachers I have had, I mean it. So if nothing changes, I will be out here too."
What do the teachers think?
Napier teacher Rebecca Rumbal said the Government has done "nothing to support teachers and to support our communities".
"I see no marginal improvement in poverty and education and poverty go hand in hand I believe. Education is trying to get kids and families out of poverty and yet the Government won't support teachers by giving us a living wage.
"I do think it's disgusting the Government are going to give $700 million to international aid and they're not prepared to give teachers the money we need to do our job."
She hopes the industrial action will make a difference, but the Government "needs to listen to its people and the people are talking".
"I think everybody is all for teachers having better conditions.
"When you consider that a backbencher is paid 160k and at the top of the scale with no other add-ons you are at 78k, I think that teachers do a far more important job than a backbencher and we're not putting our money where our mouths are.
"What the Government is proposing to pay us in the last negotiation round that we rejected was in the hand $25 extra a week and yet they want to screw us down for more hours in the classroom and at work with a raft of other conditions."
Kahuripene Kawe became a teacher to help young Maori kids. Yet three years into her teaching career, she doesn't know how much longer she can last.
"As a new teacher, I feel sorry for all the teachers who have been doing it for so long. I don't think I will be in teaching for long - the workload is just too much. You go home at 4-5pm and you are working until stupid o'clock night."
She says if she had known what her life would be like as a teacher, she would have thought a lot harder about getting into the profession.
"I do it for the kids."
However, she believes the system is "failing the kids".
"Young Maori kids are seen as the biggest group who are failing the system but really it is the system that is failing them. And then they miss out."
As for her income, she says it is just enough for her and her partner to live on.
"I don't know how parents of two or more kids make ends meet with the same pay."
Napier teacher Shyna Kesha has been a teacher for 17 years. She views herself as one of the "lucky ones" - being able to own her own home and have a family who supports her financially.
"I grew up pretty privileged. Yet even somebody who has a privileged background struggles, and you become a burden on your family. I just happen to be lucky that my family supports me.
"I don't pay my own rates, I don't pay my insurance, I don't pay for any house repairs, because I just can't afford to and anything I do have, have come because my parents have worked really really hard and they are in a position to be able to help me."
She says it is "just not possible" otherwise. And she doesn't know of any other teacher friends who have bought their own properties without the help of their families. "... that's a real problem and it's only going to get worse."
Her partner, who was "really successful in teaching" left after more than 17 years for a better paying career in commercial real estate.
"... He's got two kids and he said to me: I can't afford to treat you and the kids the way I want to treat you and for us to have great financially independent lives, so I have to do something else.
"We are the ones who are trying to get our kids to strive to become good members of the community who are contributing, yet what are we showing them? That even though they work hard at school, it doesn't matter because you're never going to afford to own your own home."
Kesha has thought about leaving "quite a lot of times", but says "this is who I am".
"It is what I do - I don't know how to do anything else."