I am sure the MHJC community is well aware of the strike action planned for Wednesday 29 May. Some of the issues that have been publicised include salary increments that have not kept pace with inflation and working conditions which have caused many to seek other employment or which have caused significant health concerns.
I am pleased to be working with a Board of Trustees which takes its responsibility as a “good employer” seriously and has supported several initiatives to promote staff wellbeing. Some strategies include membership of the Employee Assistance Programme; showing a compassionate approach to leave requests; paying support staff a “living wage” which is above rates specified in the collective agreement; support of teachers going on study leave and supporting management with initiatives which assist teachers and support staff to maintain a work/life balance. Our mentoring system has also been very successful in responding to the needs of our staff before the situation becomes damaging and the schools within school/whānau system is a very effective means of providing emotional support to our staff as well as our students. I continue to work with our Senior Leadership Team at ways in which we can lighten the load on our staff and commit to this on a daily basis.
While planning this message I wondered what our community can do to support our teaching and support staff while the union leaders and Education Minister lock horns. I note in the many articles and news reports that many teachers and support staff describe their situations in different ways often because of the context in which they work. I am pleased that in general our students and caregivers provide wonderful support to our staff. While working conditions overall could improve it is so important that our staff are and feel valued. We can all show this by following our values of integrity/pono and compassion/awhinatanga. Let us show our appreciation and gratitude for what our teachers and support staff do on a daily basis whether it be phoning in an absence, replying to a reminder about homework completion or simply meeting and greeting a coach/manager at an academic competition, sporting or cultural event. Just a few kind words on these occasions may not fill the bank account but they will fill the well of goodwill and put a smile on the face and a spring in the step for a community that is doing a great job but needs a boost right now.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!