Teachers from schools around Whyalla came together to rally for better working conditions and more pay as enterprise negotiations continue between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the state government.
Union members, who left school early, united for a rally outside the Department of Education Whyalla Office, one of several being held around the state on Thursday including most notably outside Premier Steven Marshall's Norwood electorate office
They then marched down to the office of Member for Giles Eddie Hughes at the Westland Shopping Centre to deliver a letter encouraging him to stand up for their cause in parliament.
The strike stems from 15 months of negotiations between the AEU and the state government, with the government refusing to budge on its offer of a 2.35 per cent pay increase for teachers and a 3.35 per cent rise for principals.
AEU Organiser Anne Beinke says teachers in areas like Whyalla are facing more complexities in the classroom, catering to more students with diverse needs and dealing with a lack of access to relief teachers.
"You can't just walk out and leave a classroom like you can an office, you have to have someone qualified in front of that class to teach them...there's a critical shortage of relief teachers in Whyalla," she said.
"Because of that classrooms get split up when teachers are away, which disrupts learning."
Ms Beinke said choosing to strike wasn't an easy decision for teachers but one that had to be made to get the message across.
"These teachers are really committed to the job they do but also really committed to getting a really good deal for public education ," she said.
Ms Beinke said working conditions were just as important as pay for the union, and implored the state government to take notice and give teachers more respect.
"If we're on the bottom in terms of pay we're already losing teachers interstate. Teachers can't be at the top, the economy doesn't work that way, but we need to be at least fourth of fifth," she said.
"That's only a small issue, a lot our members just want the time and the resources to do the job properly."