Teachers say they have sought help from food banks and difficult donations after the May 29 strike cost them a day's salary.
Cheryl, a reading recovery teacher in the rural area of Hawke's Bay, went to the local food rescue after the strike.
She knew of other teachers who regularly used the foodbank, she said, and it was not her first visit.
Work and income also approved an emergency benefit and meal voucher for her, but she said she chose not to accept it – for now.
If the union voted in more strikes, she would have no choice, she said.
As a part-time teacher, the loss of one day's salary meant that one-third of her income for the week was over.
Cheryl said she lived a "pay package to pay the package," and the loss of profits meant she could not afford the electricity, her mortgage, or "even gasoline to get to my next job."
Losing a day's pay was a blow to Professor Renee Rose, too. As a single mother, "every cent" of her salary has been budgeted for rent, childcare, bills and food, she said.
She enrolled for the Postgraduate Teachers Association (PPTA) for a hardship allowance, and the $ 100 she received went straight to gas and food – the bottom line being that she was living "above the line."
Asking for help was not comfortable: "You feel like you've failed in life," she said.
But with a teacher's salary, it was impossible to economize, she said.
For her, it was not just about paying for a day. She said it was impossible for her to afford to have another baby on her current salary.
"It's sad, I love being a mother and I would love to have another child," she said.
After five years at university, she said she did not think she should be in that position.
"I am good at what I do and change the lives of many [students]Why should I be in trouble? Why should I be fighting?
PPTA President Jack Boyle said money was "tight" for many teachers and that one day of lost pay would be a "big deal."
"The fact that teachers are willing to waive payment to convey our message only shows how important we think it is to have teachers trained, motivated and well supported enough for our children in the future."
He could not say how many concessions of hardship were granted, since they were administered by regional agencies.
An NZEI spokesman said he could not comment on anything related to the teachers' campaign as discussions were under way this week.