Kia ora, my name is Bethany O'Hagan. I have been teaching in ECE for 19 years and I am currently in management.
Despite our teaching qualifications we are not recognised as professionals.
I feel that our pay is a total disgrace, when all the research shows that not just any early childhood education, but quality early childhood education is key – and also when all the evidence shows that the first 1000 days lays the foundations for the rest of children’s lives.
However, at present I find the quality is being marred by over worked, under paid, and stressed teachers.
Everyone wonders why there is a teacher shortage but ask an early childhood teacher and we can tell you why.
The reason is our pay is disgraceful.
Early childhood teachers have been walking out and we will continue to see teachers walking out to get other jobs with half the stress and better pay.
Some of us are still here as we are passionate about the tamariki and have been hoping that by now under a new government our concerns would have been listened to.
However, it is really taking its toll. I have started questioning my desire to stay in the sector.
Some of my staff are only on $1 more than staff who are just starting at Kmart. These staff are fully qualified and registered teachers with over 10 years ECE teaching!!!
However, I am not in the position of being a centre owner or the Minister of Education to change their income and my own as a manager is not much better than theirs.
Sorry I am very hot on this topic and feel the Govt and society needs to wake up and value our key role in bringing up the next generation of world changers. Thank you.