I speak to you as a classroom teacher with a particular interest in preschool pedagogy, and democratic classrooms and workplaces; and as a person, who has like all of us in this room only wants to do the best we are capable of to meet the needs of students. We are members of a profession that does what no other does, to help shape the future of our students.
Schools are complex workplaces and the needs of students are complex and varied these demands require that everyone who works in a school is given the professional respect we deserve as classroom teachers, LSAs or school leaders
After 30 years of activism in the labour movement I can genuinely say that this is the first time that I have the privilege of being involved in a union doing all it can to actively engage and activate our members
Our union is organising the democratic participation of our members in the best traditions of the union movement making the stand for workplace justice and rights both for our students and the dignity of what we do as teams of professional educators
As teachers and educators we are demonstrating what democratic workplaces should be. This in a critical time in our democracy, when governments and legislation are limiting our active voices and actions as workers and citizens. The prime examples are the Royal Commission and the un-fair work act and anti-terror laws
The active participation of our membership through our sub branches is the right way to go, the only way to go, building our strength and make it clear to our employer that we are active participants in setting the education agenda in our schools and the ACT.
I believe that my 30 year of activist experience places me well to make a valuable contribution to future of our union. It is one thing to build a democratic union it is another to establish democratic workplaces where the participation of everyone involved is encouraged and valued.
This respect is only possible when our principals and leaders consciously work with their sub branches to ensure everyone’s voice are heard and acted on. Our sub branches and Workload committees are the means to ensuring our democratic and professional engagement.
Our combined strength is powerful, we are not fighting for survival, but rather we are making a stand. We are redefining the rules of the game. We are here to stay.