It is a Friday. I’m in the middle of an online Teams hui working out the finer details of a series of workshops we’ll be presenting next week. It’s a normal work day at 10am. Someone has just cracked a joke about how much money they’ve been saving by drinking instant coffee when the email comes in.

[…] An email has been sent to every person involved in the NCEA Change programme: over 300 staff. The programme is supposed to be the biggest reform to NCEA since its inception. 

At midday we tune in, and the person who is about four steps down in seniority from Erica Stanford reads out a statement. Firstly she tells us that, at 12.30, the minister is going to announce the push back of level two and level three NCEA changes for two years and secondly, pretty much everyone involved in the NCEA Change programme will now be surplus staff. She goes on to outline the next steps and we are sent a follow-up email.

So into the weekend we go, wondering if we will have jobs. Almost all of us, like me, had given up permanent full-time teaching positions to go into the ministry to work on this project; a role that promised three years of work to help kaiako and kura with the Change programme. One of us has only been in the role seven weeks.

[…] Twitter is full of others like me. DMs, emails, reckons. The consensus is that education is too important to be left to the whims of successive governments. There was a good reason for the change. There was cross-party agreement. The programme is based on good research and data, created by the finest of minds. 

Sure it is.

[…] For me, I’m even more suspicious about motivation. Change two of the programme is “mana orite mo te matauranga Maori (equal status for Maori knowledge)”. 

Yep, the finest minds.

[…] Me, I cancel the guy who mows the lawn. It’s $81 a fortnight. I can’t do it myself, nor can my husband who has long Covid. But the dog will enjoy playing in the longer grass. Hope the neighbours don’t get shitty. I also go through expenses to decide what’s essential: insurance premiums, subscriptions to multiple media outlets, and about 15 other things. I reduce the pet insurance; hover over our own health insurance but decide to keep it. I stop our Hello Fresh subscription. I’ll have time to prepare meals now, won’t I?

Oh noes! No more lawnmower man! No more Hello Fresh! What next? Favourite restaurant every month instead of every fortnight?

For many of us $81 a fortnight is a lot of money. Any kind of pet insurance? Forget about it. Meal kits? Yeah, right. We actually have to mow our lawns and cook our own dinner.

[…] Ten minutes later, my email arrives. I was expecting it, but it’s still a shock and I burst into tears. My heart races. Luckily, I’m at my GP getting some meds. He says, “you OK?”

I tell him. My chest hurts. 

I cry on the way home and cuddle the dog. I message my lead. I message my colleagues. They’ve got their emails too. The blood bath has continued in the other office, according to my friend. My friend doesn’t get an email, so their job is safe. Thank goodness for that at least.

[…] My phone is blowing up with messages from my team from around the country. It is indeed a Red Wedding. 

So here we have someone who got contracted to schlep around the country doing bullshit workshops and explaining to teachers about some proposed NCEA changes.

Those changes, thank God, have been canned by the coalition Government so there’s no need for her to keep schlepping around. End of. Welcome to the real world, baby.

And you can bet that the job ad would’ve had in it ‘must have knowledge of Te Treaty and Te Lingo’.

Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Has voted National and ACT. May have voted Labour once but too long ago to remember. Favourite saying: “There but for the grace of God go I.”