Good morning David

I was saddened to hear your smarty-pants sound-bite response to a serious education issue when you spoke to RNZ this morning.

As a parliamentarian, you should display good sense, leadership, wisdom and diplomacy. Instead you attack the teaching profession.

Your website says the ACT Party stands for a “compassionate nation”. And yet you dispassionately dismiss the fears of teachers who are, daily, entrusted with the education of the youth of the nation. Is your by-line rhetoric only?

I have been a teacher for nearly forty years and a school leader since the mid-1990s. I have always belonged to a teacher organisation: PPTA and latterly NZEI.

Over that time I have used them to help me or my colleagues with pay or employment problems – they have negotiated on my behalf for better pay and conditions. Most of the work the teacher organisations attend to is to ensure the teaching profession is strong and healthy and ready to teach!

Most members are primarily concerned about children, the craft of teaching and how we can best help children learn. We do this in the face of your type of teacher bashing. We do this in difficult and at times dangerous environments. Thankfully most of us love what we do.

I have been assaulted and injured a number of times in my career. I have been sworn at, abused on Facebook, threatened.

I have attended court to plead clemency for both students and parents on occasion.    I have wept at tangi for children whom I taught.

I have been invited to 21st birthdays and weddings of former students.

So don’t say that the teacher unions are called teacher unions for a reason and that they are not called children’s unions. Your remarks are trite.

We are more than unions – we are New Zealand citizens first of all and demand your respect for that alone; secondly we are the people who teach your children and your nieces and nephews and grandchildren; and finally we are organised groups of professionals who care about each other, our children and our nation.

Teachers speak out about bad policy because they know what it does to children.

Kind regards,

A principal