Teachers deserve our thanks

Nick JohnstoneGeraldton Guardian
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OPINION: Every year the teaching profession is under more pressure to deliver. With the same amount of teaching and learning hours, teachers have not only to teach the literacy and numeracy “basics” expected by parents, but also deliver on the ever-turning wheel of curriculum change.

In my 25 years of teaching, we have moved through five distinct curriculum changes: the Unit Curriculum, which moved from content to skills; the Outcomes Based Curriculum, which was great in theory but difficult to implement in a meaningful way; the Curriculum Framework, which was nebulous and highly criticised; the Courses of Study changes, which were overdue but not well supported in the regions; and lastly the Australian Curriculum, with the WA variations. This last one is being implemented at present.

Thank you, teachers, for adapting to these changes.

State and Commonwealth- driven initiatives have also been added to what teachers do as their core practice.

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They have included teaching programs in cyber-education, stranger danger, anti-bullying, indigenous education and understanding, the Safe Schools curriculum to address bullying within different sexual orientation groupings, driver education, sexual abuse and harassment education, mental health education, domestic violence, personal hygiene and sex education, to name but a few.

While these programs are important, they are all additions to the school day.

Thank you, teachers, for adding these extras. As a school leader, I want to thank all teachers from all systems.

It would be easy to be cynical about the continuous change.

I want to thank teachers for being adaptable, for being innovative, for caring and being positive agents in the lives of their students.

The teachers of today can’t clock in at 9am and clock out at 3pm, not that they ever did.

The teachers of today are required to meet professional learning standards, conduct parent-teacher meetings, provide information nights, attend sports training and carnivals, organise and attend school camps in their own time, and plan and mark at home after hours.

The teachers of today need to engage modern learners with technology and therefore be skilled in the use of devices and techniques. Teachers of today have more face-to-face classes, more yard duties and greater accountability.

I am writing this to say thank you, teachers, for joining this noble profession and for committing to the kids. I also wish to thank the parents, community members and businesses for supporting our teachers.

Thank you, teachers.

Nick Johnstone is principal of Geraldton Grammar School

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