Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about teaching graduates – some of whom I had the privilege of addressing at a graduation ceremony last year – wondering how their first days in the classroom have been. Did the knowledge and skills they mastered at university and on prac prepare them for the first few weeks of their career?
My thoughts turned to them because of the significant criticism of initial teacher education and teachers in general over the Christmas holiday period in some media. Teachers face a seemingly constant barrage of public criticism.
In the graduation ceremony speech I stressed that teachers need to have a vast body of knowledge to be effective, but that this knowledge isn’t enough. Teachers also need to have well-developed emotional intelligence, skills and a passion for teaching to bring this knowledge to life. In a nutshell, not just anybody can be a teacher.
US President Barack Obama, who captured our attention last year with his speech at The University of Queensland, has said of teachers: “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for teachers like these who challenged me and pushed me and put up with me and inspired me and set me straight when they had to … If you want to guarantee that you are making a difference every single day – become a teacher.”
There are a plethora of stories about how teachers have changed lives and thus the world. Queensland’s Ian Frazer, a world-leading pioneer medical researcher, said it was a teacher who inspired him to be a scientist.
There is no doubt our student performance on some International tests can improve, but the way to achieving this improvement is to listen to teachers and work collaboratively with them in developing policies and practices.
One of the main reasons for introducing this blog is to have an informal means of obtaining the views of teachers when the QCT is developing or reviewing policies. This feedback will be considered by the Board and staff.
What our teaching graduates and all teachers need is our support – not public disparagement. They perform too important a role in our society to be treated that way. Teachers change lives and influence people who will go on to change the world as a result of that influence.
We thank you for your commitment, your expertise and the choice you have made to teach Queensland children.
If you have an important topic you would like the QCT to address in these blogs, let us know.