Instrumental music teachers play on – a celebration of activism
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 7, 27 September 2019, page no. 23
The continued efforts of instrumental music teacher and instructor members are ensuring that their message is reaching an ever-wider audience – within the QTU and beyond.
Instrumental music teachers are working to rule to have the workload implications of their unique working conditions and recent impositions from the Department of Education addressed.
Activism - in the workplace
Some have combined their passion for the profession and their activist strength to form the QTU Instrumental Music Special Interest Group. Using this group as a springboard, QTU Reps have been able to take the concerns of these members to a wider audience.
Nicole Elkins, a QTU Rep and instrumental music teacher, took the concerns of her colleagues to her local branch. In both attending her branch meetings and being active in the instrumental music campaign, Nicole was successful in being elected as a delegate to the QTU’s supreme decision-making body, the Biennial Conference in July. Nicole had the opportunity to take the floor at the Conference, to bring the instrumental music cause, workload challenges and work to rule to an audience that included elected Reps from across Queensland, QTU Senior Officers, Organisers and Internal Officers. This resulted in the following two motions being carried.
- THAT Conference recognises the courage of QTU members employed as instrumental music teachers/instructors in following the nine parts of the QTU work to rule directive.
- THAT the QTU seeks guarantees from the Department of Education on measures, whether inside or outside the EB agreement, to mitigate workload identified in the QTU log of claims, for example:
- increase in non-contact time for instrumental music staff
- class size targets for out of hours ensembles
- measures to address the additional hours of work that instrumental music teachers/instructors are required to undertake but which they are not remunerated for.
The activism and leadership shown by Nicole is to be celebrated, as it has allowed for the instrumental music cause to be highlighted in a meaningful way, with a range of actions and concrete commitments from the QTU and Senior Officers arising as a result.
Activism - the IM voice is heard
With the establishment of the Instrumental Music Reference Committee (IMRC) in April, consultation between the Department of Education and instrumental music teachers and instructors and their union/s has been facilitated.
The dedication and passion of the four QTU Reps elected to the IMRC – Julianne Schick, Christine Jabs, Luke Todd and Nicole Elkins – is also to be celebrated, as they continue to be invaluable in relaying the reality experienced by instrumental music teachers to the department, thus highlighting issues of workload.
The IMRC has met three times since April, and in this forum the QTU and the department continue to engage in genuine consultation to reach a resolution to the work to rule.
Activism - next steps for instrumental music
Thanks to the commitment and dedication of instrumental music teachers and instructors, the IMRC continues to meet and the the Workload Advisory Council will be considering the workload concerns as a first order of business. These wins are for members, by members, and are be celebrated in the spirit of activism and solidarity.
As we maintain pressure on the department in relation to the cause of instrumental music teachers and instructors, we encourage members to continue to share the messages of this campaign and messages of solidarity with your comrades.
The QTU celebrates the work of all instrumental music members in maintaining momentum around the nine points of the work to rule and maintaining awareness of their working conditions and workload issues. The QTU also acknowledges the work of school principals in supporting the instrumental music teachers and instructors in their workplaces.