Anniversary of professional recognition

Gabe Connell
Vice President ECS

This July marked the third anniversary of the accreditation of early childhood teachers in NSW. The third anniversary of recognition as professionals, as skilled and qualified teachers alongside our peers – primary and secondary teachers.

With that recognition comes responsibility. The responsibility to maintain that professional status by engaging with the standards and continuing our growth as teachers through ongoing professional learning and ensuring that the standards are reflected in our practise.

How many of us are doing this? We are time poor and we are already engaging with the regulations, the National Quality Standards (NQS) and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and countless other regulatory requirements. We need to know and engage with the standards and know how they develop our practise.

The Australian Professional Standards are about us as teachers and it is important to recognise this and use the standards in our everyday work.

If we looked at the Early Childhood Evidence Guide for newly qualified teachers who are working towards accreditation, we would find that we address the descriptors in our everyday work.

Recognising them in our work and being familiar with them puts everything we do as teachers into context – we need to look at the ‘I’ in this and what we do and the learning that comes from what we do.

We deserve this. It was hard fought and well deserved. It’s not about what the child did – it’s about what we did in that teaching moment and the outcome from that teaching moment.

The IEU fought long and hard for this recognition, for our accreditation as teachers, but unfortunately pay parity did not come with this recognition.

The IEU continues to fight for equal pay for us. This July saw the Equal Remuneration Orders pay case go before the Fair Work Commission. Several early childhood teachers from across the sector as well as primary and secondary teachers, IEU reps and other experts gave their time to write witness statements and give evidence in an often hostile environment where those against us tried to prove we were not worthy of equal pay.

The IEU has worked tirelessly on this case since 2013 to prove we are equal and our work is valuable. Thank you to all who have given their time and expertise to move this forward – and especially to John Quessy, Michael Wright, Carol Matthews, Arthur Dowdle, Lisa James and all at the IEU for the continued fight.

If I still represent you in three years’ time, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could write that 2022 marks the third anniversary of pay parity?