Message from new AEU President David Genford

This year marks my 19th year working in education. For the past seven years I worked at Taroona High School, after spending five years at Glenora District School. 

I’ve valued gaining experience in Primary and Secondary schools, and I took a lot out of my role as an Acting AST across the past four years. 

My background is HPE but I’ve enjoyed working in all school areas. 

My main goal as Branch President for AEU Members is to improve working conditions so we can provide the best outcome for students. 

I acknowledge and thank our previous President Helen Richardson and those who served on previous Executive and Council for all their hard work over the past few years. Thank you for the strong position you have left us in and we will work hard maintaining that strength going forward. 

A lot of people ask me, why do I do this? I do this for the students. 

I’m a teacher at heart. I became a teacher because I want to help deliver what’s best for students. 

My children attend a public school and I’d like to see public education as the most viable option for all members of society because everyone deserves a quality education. 

Our Union needs to be a public voice for education, and we need to advocate for a range of matters, but three things stand out to me. 

Funding, Respect and Trust. 

Public education funding is just not good enough, and the stories I’ve heard through schools I’ve visited have highlighted the intense workload our members are under. 

Funding is vital to provide more bodies in schools for the programs we need for our kids. 

The Government isn’t showing us respect.  

Our wages are below where they should be – we shouldn’t have to fight for respect and fair wages, but we will if Governments put us in that position. 

Our workload is excessive and increasing. We worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure schools stayed open. It’s almost as if we’ve been asked to maintain that same level of tireless work when we were already stretched above and beyond. 

Our workload is at a tipping point, and we need to fight to ensure that this isn’t the norm – we don’t want to see teachers burn out. We must fight for respect. 

And we must also fight for trust. 

Schools, colleges and TAFE sectors know what’s best for their students, but they’re not afforded the ability to achieve it. 

Our Government must acknowledge what our schools need, and our schools should have the power to deliver and meet student needs. 

TasTAFE, as our valued public education and training provider, is under attack and we will continue to use all our union’s strength to defend it. 

With EBA negotiations for DoE and TasTAFE teachers coming soon, it’s critical we hear from members about the matters important to them. Our DoE Teacher EBA survey has provided a good platform for member voices but there is more to do. 

Increasing the number of Education Support Personnel and professional support staff in schools and colleges is crucial to addressing workload and student needs. ESP members are already beginning to think about what they want out of a new Agreement when their turn comes for negotiations later in the year. 

I encourage all DoE Teacher members to attend a sub-branch meeting during the week beginning Monday June 21 – have a say, ask questions and find out about the next steps in the campaign. 

I will be working hard to maintain the fight for public education and making sure we remain member-led going forward. 

In Union 

David Genford 

Tasmanian AEU President