What does the reliever shortage mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

As a reliever, I feel many things.

First I feel guilty having to cancel last minute due to my own illness or my children’s illnesses. The kindergarten would have booked and be relying on me and I know that there may not be a replacement coming.

I feel like I can’t take leave – and as a casual employee this means unpaid (as holidays etc are included in my pay and I’m supposed to plan my own time off). Knowing that we are using untrained staff (untrained relievers) to help meet ratios when we can’t get trained teachers means some kindergarten teachers have to do a job of more than one person to make up for the lack of knowledge or understanding about the kindergarten environment.

We are so grateful for the people stepping up to help – but often they are parents and may not understand that the teacher role they have taken on – we need to be watching the whole space and not just one child. So the other teacher(s) then has to take on be mindful of that and the increased pressure of higher ratios even if on paper it looks like they are being met.

What will it take to fix the reliever shortage?

Being flexible. Encourage teachers from other sectors to work where they can. Encourage people back to the education workforce who have left by making it attractive. Find ways to employ people while they study so anyone can chose this path.

Sadly – while relievers short supply at the moment – I haven’t seen many permanent positions become available. So maybe making relieving attractive to new student teachers, perks or some sort of way to mentor and discuss their learning even in a non-permanent/full time position.

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

As a reliever if the reliever shortage is fixed then I guess my work will dry up. I hope that through developing positive relationships with kindergartens that it doesn’t happen – but as I am primary trained working in the ECE sector… an ECE reliever will be chosen to work first.

One good thing will be consistency and quality learning for the children. The teachers will be less stressed if they have qualified teachers coming in to work with the Tamariki.

Leave a Comment