What if I just walk around it?

Did you know that a substantial proportion of the secondary sector teachers are at the moment taking industrial action.  Not many people do.  Basically, the NASUWT is at the moment taking action to ensure parity with England and Wales.  The action involves not covering any lessons outside our timetabled time (cover for absent teachers) and not doing a list of administration tasks that our colleagues in England and Wales don’t have to do.  Like collecting money or chasing up absences (unless you are a year head).  Our union visitor said to us that if we did not get trained to do it at university then we should not be doing it!

The pay parity is an interesting and confusing point.  As far as I can tell, most teachers get exactly the same as the teachers in England and Wales.  There does seem to be a difference with management points.  However, the INTO (a union taking no action) makes an interesting comment on the NASUWT’s claim here.

So, what’s the harm in action that no-one seems to know about?  A lot.  It appears to me that a lot of money is being wasted when teachers are not doing any cover lessons.  It means that schools cannot make efficient use of cover teachers.  A cover teacher has to now be brought in for every absent teacher even if we only need them to cover classes a portion of the day.   Also, teachers are often allowed to take trips or sports games and their colleagues covered for them.  When teachers don’t do cover this is somewhat limited.

I do think that we should be treated the same as other teachers.  As I see it, we in Northern Ireland have a history of being paid less than other teachers in England and Wales.  It always seemed to me that the department of educations always dragged there heals 1 year behind in our annual pay increases.

BUT!

  • It seems to me that, at the moment, parity is closer than it has ever been.
  • The action we are currently taking is hurting our schools, students and limiting the teachers themselves.
  • In the current climate I am glad to have a job.
  • I think teachers get paid really well.
  • I think the conditions are very good.
  • As far as only doing what I was trained to do at university – I am a professional and I love every aspect of my job*

A majority of NASUWT members in Northern Ireland voted in favour of this action but I really don’t agree with it.  It’s the wrong type of action at the wrong time.  So is it OK for me to walk around the picket line?  Is it OK for me to leave and join another union?

*Apart from marking.  I hate marking.

And tidying my classroom.

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