"What do we want?"
"More teachers!"
"When do we want it?"
"Now!"

That is one of the many chants yelled by primary school educators as they embarked on strike action after gathering at Whanganui City College yesterday.

Car horns blared in support for the hundreds of principals, teachers and students who marched down Victoria Ave to rally in Majestic Square.

Signs held high read: "I'm not walking out on my kids, I'm walking for them", "Teacher drought. Sort it out!" and "I want to be a teacher when I grow up ... but should I?"

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St John's Hill School teacher Glen Howells took part in the rally and said Education Minister Chris Hipkins had to realise how serious the matter was.

"There's been no real serious change in teaching for such a long time and they have to spend the money to help us out on this.

"Resources, teacher aides, less workload for the teachers, smaller classes - we need all of that just to make a difference for the kids.

"They're our future."

Majestic Square was packed full of passionate primary school educators at the teachers strike on Wednesday. Photo / Stuart Munro
Majestic Square was packed full of passionate primary school educators at the teachers strike on Wednesday. Photo / Stuart Munro

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa began organising paid teacher union meetings in March of this year with concerns of an educational crisis.

Concerns included a lack of students choosing to become teachers, teachers leaving the profession, poor pay, a lack of time to teach and inadequate resourcing.

"I think the workload has gotten more and more over the years and we've got less and less time to be teachers and actually have passion for the job," Howells said.

"You're ticking the boxes at times just to get through and then there's class sizes and the changing environment at school."

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The NZEI meetings resulted in a vote by educators to decide on whether they wanted to take strike action and results released in July confirmed that they did.

Howells said he hoped educators would continue to take action until they get a result.

"The mood is really positive and I know we have a lot of parent support out there. We just want to make sure people understand why we're doing this.

"We're just over-worked, burnt out and we're not valued."