From the Principal

Thank A Teacher

Some time last century there was a rash of bumper stickers on cars around Australia that said:

If the reports I read are true, it might be getting harder to find a teacher who is fully trained and experienced in their teaching field to thank.

NSW schools struggle to find teachers as supply collapses

“More than 100,000 NSW high school students are being taught by someone without expertise in their subject due to increasing teacher shortages in areas such as maths, science and even English and history, confidential documents show. Overall, 15 percent of teachers are operating in an area they haven’t been specifically trained for. The shortage is worse at secondary level than primary, with 14 percent of secondary teachers teaching out of field. That includes 22 percent of years 7 to 10 maths teachers, 12 percent of years 11 and 12 maths teachers, and almost 20 percent of junior high school English and history teachers.” SMH, October 7, 2021

At St Columba we are fortunate in that we are able to attract well-trained, experienced and inspiring teachers who are experts in their professional craft.

 They are dedicated, innovative and win awards for their professional diligence.

 They are supported by a range of specialists and support staff who make the “magic” of a great education possible.

In a country where we are told that the status of teachers is declining, where the remuneration for long hours, ever-increasing responsibilities and ongoing stress are said to be turning potential teachers away from the profession, St Columba “scores” with its staff.

“The number of teachers facing abuse on social media from pupils and parents has more than doubled in 12 months, according to a survey of the profession. School staff are being confronted with sexist, racist and homophobic remarks, as well as offensive comments about their appearance, competence in the classroom and malicious slurs, the study suggests.”

I have referenced this video before but….. https://youtu.be/0xuFnP5N2uA

In a world where teachers appear to be “fair game” for the angry, frustrated or just malicious, we believe our families have some of the best teachers in the state welcoming their children into the classroom each day.

Let’s face the facts, great teachers:

  • don’t teach lessons; they teach individual students; 
  • make lesson plans (Plan A) — probably Plans B and C, as well, so that they can adjust purposefully to students’ questions and meet individual interests and needs;
  • meet each student where they are and lead and guide them forward;
  • instill hope, and challenge each student to take a risk in trying something new, learning from the experience;
  • encourage students, help them learn if they fail, and joyfully celebrate their successes;
  • arrive each day ready to teach…even though not every student comes wanting to learn.

To put it in the words of an adult who thanks her teachers for her capacity to write:

“I wonder how those teachers did it. How did they make us feel that the nurturing of our potential was their raison d’etre and that their favourite topic of conversation on their breaks in the hallowed halls of the staffroom, must surely be us? How do they continue to do this during remote learning, working at home, with lives and children of their own? I hope those exceptional educators, of decades past and now, know that the way they revealed and nurtured our intellectual potential is never forgotten.”
Melissa Coburn, Freelance writer.

Somebody decided to thank teachers: “I would submit that many more teachers make a difference in a positive fashion, than those who do not.  Like many other elements of the profession, the credit is rarely given. Teachers are not respected outside the field of education because they are not given much respect within the field of education.  Teacher’s are attacked by individuals who have no idea how or no desire to do the job.  However, make no mistake about it, it is an ESSENTIAL undertaking.”

Terry Muldoon
Principal

Want to share your thoughts on this story, or do you have something you’d like to add? Email me at principal@scas.nsw.edu.au

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