Most children in the 1970s didn’t get to travel, but as a six-year-old I travelled the world. In my classroom a World Map covered the wall. As I completed spelling lists and mathematical problems, I was able to travel between countries and across continents. I learnt about penguins in Antarctica, the emperor in Japan and cooking a traditional meal in Germany. It was my teacher who took me there.
Teachers are first and foremost educators. They are responsible for equipping students with the knowledge, skills and ways of thinking and working needed for their future lives so they can go on to be leaders, run their own businesses, care for others or make important discoveries. Teachers create global citizens. They inspire students to achieve great things.
Today, Queensland celebrates World Teachers’ Day, to thank teachers for the difference they make and acknowledge their significant contribution to this state. There are about 109,000 registered teachers across Queensland and anyone who is a parent, or who has a teacher as a partner or friend, knows just how important they are. They also know there are some myths about teaching that do the profession a great disservice.
It’s not a 9am to 3pm job with 12 weeks of holidays. It’s hours before and after school planning, marking and connecting with parents. It’s learning from colleagues and sharing good practice. It’s sport and other activities after school or on the weekends. It’s organising and attending camps, school trips, award events and parent nights. It’s fetes and fundraisers.
There are high standards of entry to the profession so we require candidates to complete extensive professional experience, a rigorous degree and a challenging final teaching performance assessment that is moderated across universities. Over half of teaching graduates today already have another degree or career behind them. They are experts in their field.
Why do we care so much about standards in our profession? Teaching is complex and teachers are constantly adapting to the changing needs of the students they teach and the communities they work with. All of this requires extensive skills, deep content knowledge, and creativity, intelligence, empathy, adaptability and resilience.
Over the past few weeks, The Courier-Mail has shared some of the stories of inspirational teachers from across the state who were finalists in the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Awards.
From the Torres Strait to Moura to the Gold Coast, these educators showcase the outstanding teaching that happens every day in classrooms right across this state. They champion students, deliver engaging lessons, build confidence, remove barriers to learning and employment, and create opportunities.
Today, you can read about the TEACHX Awards winners. It’s impossible not to be inspired by the difference they make.
We need to value the work of teachers. They are at the heart of learning and our communities.
I am proud to be a teacher and strongly encourage others who are interested in teaching to choose this profession.
Today, I would like to thank all Queensland teachers for their important contribution to their students and their school communities. I hope you will thank them too.
Happy World Teachers’ Day!