Council tackling the issues that matter

IEU Council newcomers Michael Landon and Lynda Espinola appreciated hearing the issues that matter to their members discussed at IEU Council on 20 August.

Michael, newly appointed President of the Penrith Blue Mountains Branch and Lynda, a new Rep and IEU Activist’s Conference graduate, enjoyed hearing the reports on the IEU’s workload survey (see page 4) and a presentation by IEU Federal President Chris Watt about the increasing burden of standardised testing on students, parents and teachers.

“I can tell my colleagues the Union is doing something about the things they worry about, like workload issues,” Lynda said.

Michael has made fast progress within the union movement, having joined the IEU at the beginning of 2015, when he started work at St Mary’s Flexible Learning Centre, which is administered by Edmund Rice.

“I am noticing young people are not joining. They don’t realise what the Union does and are worried about spending the money,” Michael said.

“I would certainly be motivated to do something to address that.”

Michael was interested in hearing about wider issues affecting members in other schools at council, and the presentation on testing regimes, even though his own students often miss out on NAPLAN.

“Most of the parents are happy for their students not to do NAPLAN.”

St Mary’s Flexible Learning Centre caters for up to 60 co-ed Year 7-12 students that have not been turning up to mainstream school and need a different approach.

“I was working as a PE teacher in the public system but I was drawn into working with the students who were not turning up to class.

“I like the centre because you get to teach a range of students in different subjects. It keeps you on your toes.”

Lynda has come to Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman after a career in fashion and five years teaching in London. She teaches textiles and design to senior girls.

Lynda said she was always a union member in the fashion and retail industry, and she enjoys the solidarity and collegiality it brings.

“You know people are going through the same things you are, and being all in it together brings benefits.”

Lynda attended the IEU’s Activist’s Conference in April to find out how to get things done for herself and her colleagues.

“I hear lots of talk in the classroom about things people aren’t happy about, but they don’t know what the next step is.

”I wanted to know how to do and say things to take the next step”

Activist’s conference ‘veteran’ Holly Wright of Wagga Wagga Christian College, now a Council regular, said the forthcoming accreditation of all teachers was a recruitment opportunity for Union Reps.
“I have found myself becoming the ‘go to’ person for accreditation information, because of the details I bring back from the Union about accreditation.
“Explaining to people about accreditation and the support and accredited PD that is available rorm the Union is a great way of getting non members involved.
“Accreditation it is an opportunity for Reps to engage with younger and older teachers.”