Primary school teachers will consider all options including industrial action next year unless their demands for better pay and working conditions are met, their union says.
Collective agreements expire next year and the union, the Educational Institute, has warned teachers won't accept one or two percent pay rises.
It argues they are struggling with high workloads and having to moderate pupils' behaviour while still making sure they meet national standards.
At its annual conference in Rotorura yesterday, NZEI president Lynda Stuart said members were determined to winning better pay and conditions.
"There's a real committment there to do what it takes to get a decent pay jolt - not accepting those one to two percent increases. Our people are really determined to move this forward."
National secretary Paul Goulter said the education sector needed an overhaul, and unless the government made big changes, teachers would consider all options including industrial action.
Mr Goulter told Morning Report there was a crisis in education.
"The pay rates are simply not enough to attract and retain teachers inside the system.
"We get these terrible situations where classes are doubled up, principals are being forced to teach rather than lead their school."
He said the teacher shortage also meant there was less time for teaching children.
The union will consult its membership over the next two terms on what pay increase they want, he said. Negotiations start in the middle of next year.