What does the issue of staff to student ratios mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?
In the 20 Tamariki Kindergarten I work it means that we have two teachers and a part time teacher aide.
We have 5 tamariki with additional learning needs that have been identified but do not qualify for any Education Support Worker hours. We also have new two year olds who are settling in and tamariki nearly off to school.
Every day you try your best to cater for the diverse needs of tamariki but every day you feel like you fail perhaps you are able to cater for the diverse needs well today but did nothing to extend the four year olds or perhaps you had a two year old settling in stuck to your hip most of the day so the response when tamariki said things like “can you help me” (if it wasn’t essential) was “not right now” or you try to direct a capable four year old there way.
Trying to fulfill individual plan requirements for all tamariki on top of this means grabbing any tiny space of time and trying to quickly and I mean very quickly do something in an individual child’s plan you know that’s not quality but its something!
I’ve worked in ECE for over 20 years and the diversity of needs of tamariki means it is harder then it ever has been. I am highly skilled as is the other teacher in our space. Our Kindergarten is on the top four year Education Review Office (ERO) cycle but we are due to be reviewed and despite what ERO may or may not say I know what we are providing is not as good as it was and I know the only thing that can improve this is either less diverse needs of tamariki or a better adult to child ratio.
What will it take to fix staff to student ratios?
I guess the answer to this is a new legal ratio and more money to back it up.
When we fix staff to student ratios, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?
It will lift the quality of care and education for all tamariki. It will lower the stress levels and make teaching a more attractive option.
I would love any politician to look after 10 tamariki under 6 year olds with diverse learning needs for a week, provide all that Kindergarten does and then see if they agree this ratio is sufficient.