What does the issue of sick leave mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

For myself as a teacher it means unpaid leave as covid and the flu has used up my sick leave. It also means despite preaching the rules to whanau about not bringing tamariki unwell to Kindergarten I find myself unsure if I should follow them as doing so may mean no reliever will cover and at my 20 tamariki Kindergarten one teacher and one teacher aide will work 6 hours no breaks and one person watching all 20 children when other adult needs to go to the toilet.

As there are certain duties the teacher aide cant do this means one teacher does the majority of positive guidance/ toileting/ group times/ whanau korero/ active supervision. We know it is illegal for us to not have a break and have raised this with our employer who could come and cover but they ask things like isn’t it okay for a couple of days, wait and see how many children arrive etc.

What will it take to fix sick leave for kindergarten teachers?

More days!!!! It [needs to be] written in [to our collective] that our employers are responsible for ensuring we get breaks. I know it is in there but I think it needs to be made even clearer. We are exposed to so many illnesses at our work place yet even if we can show covid was in our Kindergarten our employer argues that we cant prove we got it from there and will not approve disregarded sick leave. We need a clearer process for this aspect of our contract.

When we fix sick leave, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

I will be able to be at home knowing that the teaching team and tamariki are well taken care of and not feel guilty. I will be able to look after my own well-being and bring my best self to work when I return.

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