Principal's Column: World Teachers' Day 

Mr Geoff Lancaster | Grammar News | 27 October 2023

On Friday 27 October we celebrated World Teachers’ Day at St Luke’s, as we do at this time each year. I am grateful to our School community for the support that you give to the teachers at our School. An extravagant amount of morning tea was provided by our parents, which reflects the esteem our community has for our teaching staff.

You may have read in the Good Weekend recently the article 'Anxiety, ADHD, ‘snowplough parents’: Behind our worsening school discipline crisis.' As I read this article, and others like it, I am saddened by the ongoing narrative in the media that teaching is a profession that should be avoided. The opposite is true - we should be encouraging our best and brightest to be teachers, to work in ‘the profession that creates all others.’

In 1966 UNESCO developed a Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers. The statement recognises ‘the essential role of teachers in educational advancement and the importance of their contribution to the development of mankind and modern society.’ It goes on to say that 'it should be recognized that advance in education depends largely on the qualifications and ability of the teaching staff in general and on the human, pedagogical and technical qualities of the individual teachers. [Teaching] is a form of public service that requires of teachers expert knowledge and specialised skills, acquired and maintained through rigorous and continuing study; it calls also for a sense of personal and corporate responsibility for the education and welfare of the pupils in their charge.'

Teaching is a complex profession that is so much more than just teaching content as indicated in the quotes above. Every child in the classroom arrives each day with a back story that could make the day a joy, or a challenge for the teacher. To engage, inspire and connect with a full class of students for five or six hours a day takes an extraordinary amount of energy. My wife, a Year 1 teacher, had a parent helper for a couple of hours who told her that when she went home after the literacy session she had to have a sleep to recover! It is a physically and mentally exhausting profession but the reward is seeing students thrive, witnessing their progress in learning, and seeing them develop into wonderful young adults.

I believe that despite the complexity and challenges, there is no more rewarding career. At the beginning of this year at a staff Professional Development session Laura McBain and Louie Montoya, from the Stanford, spoke about the role of educators as futurists - we shape the actions and attitudes of the next generations. This is so true. I am sure each person reading this can remember a teacher who had a profound influence on them. If so, in this interconnected world, I encourage you to reach out and thank them for that impact. Our teachers need to hear words of encouragement to reinforce what they know, but sometimes in the busyness forget - that their work has purpose and is appreciated! I also invite you to help change the narrative and publicly celebrate and honour the great work teachers do.