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EFL Teachers Need A Voice

For immediate release
EFL teachers need a voice

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers are being invited to a meeting at 7:30 pm on Thursday 15 July at Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, to activate an Auckland-wide association of EFL teachers.

EFL teachers and Unite Union representatives have been discussing the benefits of creating a citywide teachers’ association for several months. They will determine the level of interest for such an association through attendance and participation in the July 15 meeting.

At a time when the EFL industry – NZ’s 4th largest export earner – is under greater scrutiny to perform, teachers’ association organisers say the needs of teachers are being overlooked. “Government representatives and school managers have publicly raised concerns about marketing, pastoral care of students, quality standards, and immigration issues – but nobody’s worrying about the teachers,” says Project Coordinator Kristin Sandvik. “EFL teachers in Auckland put a lot of time, effort and goodwill into ensuring that their overseas students have wonderful experiences in NZ, often under surprisingly poor conditions.”

The EFL industry has faced dramatic ups and downs over the past few years. In response to the current downward trend, the government has announced its intention to put $40 million into the EFL industry. With this funding, the government hopes to help bring long-term stability to this major export earner. The organisers of the proposed teachers’ association feel strongly that teachers should have a voice to influence both government strategy and conditions at their own workplaces. Expectations are that a citywide EFL teachers’ association could improve standards within individual schools and across the industry.

Unite Union has had 3 years of experience working with EFL schools. They have facilitated successful and positive negotiations between union members and managers at Crown and Dominion schools, and are currently in negotiation on behalf of their members at Aspect ILA. “Through our efforts in the EFL industry, we have learned a lot about the key challenges faced by EFL teachers in many schools. We look forward to working with teachers to identify the shape and direction an EFL teachers’ association might take,” says Unite Senior Organiser Mike Treen.

All EFL teachers are welcome to attend the July 15 meeting. Interested EFL teachers are encouraged to contact Project Coordinator Kristin Sandvik (tpfem@xtra.co.nz) or Unite Senior Organiser Mike Treen (mike@unite.org.nz / 021 254 7440) for more information.


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