Editorial: Teaching Through Every Moment
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 7, 30 September 2022, page no. 5
With World Teachers' Day (WTD) imminent, we should take time to stop and celebrate our profession. While no one can deny that teachers and school leaders deserve to be celebrated every day, the reality is that most days we barely stop to finish a drink while it’s still hot. We need this day to remember why it is that we choose to teach.
This year’s WTD theme – Teaching through every moment – reflects the impact that teachers and school leaders have on the lives of the students they teach. It also reflects our importance within the community.
Whether its acknowledged or not, teachers and school leaders are often the constant adults in our students lives. We are the ones who support them to learn, regardless of what is going on at home, in the community or even at school.
When a child is feeling isolated or excluded from their friendship group, it is often a teacher who is the first to notice. They recognise that the child is quieter, possibly more withdrawn or is sitting on their own. Schools have set up friendship seats to help students struggling to fit in, but it’s the lesson in this moment – extending kindness and accepting everyone – which helps students keep going.
Likewise, when students lose a loved one, or their parents separate/divorce, their teachers remain the other constant adults in their lives. Teachers and school leaders must know their students and how they learn, they accommodate the things that are occurring in their personal lives. I distinctly remember the help my daughters’ teachers gave them when their routine and their homelife was disrupted by their parents’ divorce. They checked in to see how they were managing the upheaval, while also ensuring the consistency and routine of school provided them with a sense of familiarity and security.
Teachers and school leaders teach beyond formalised lessons. Through interaction with them, students learn trust, how to take risks, how to be part of a team and how to be part of their school community.
When events such as the pandemic and natural disasters occur, teachers and school leaders do all they can to ensure stability for students and their communities.
Whether this is opening school halls to provide safe havens, opening the school tuck shop to provide food, or helping them rebuild when their homes have been damaged, teachers and school leaders are there, through every moment.
At a recent school leader forum, one member described teaching as a profession in which you need to know that every day, something won’t go the way it’s planned.
Whether it is the lesson that we planned, or activities that don’t work because we don’t have the exact resources necessary for them, or we feel our own energy wane because students are tired (or hungry or dealing with something else beyond your control) and consequently less engaged than usual - every day something doesn’t go to plan.
And as a teacher or a school leader, you have to be okay with that, because teachers and school leaders teach through every moment.
Teaching today extends beyond the three “Rs” (reading, writing and arithmetic) that were lauded in bygone days. They have been replaced by many more “R” words.
Words like: rework, revisit, revise, recognise, review, recalibrate, relate, relevance, reset, report, reward, reconciliation, resilient.
However, there is one “R” word which our profession deserves, not only on World Teachers’ Day, but every day. That work is “Respect”.
Respect for all that we do every day to provide the very best opportunities for the students we teach and the communities that we work in.
Respect because teachers and school leaders are there through every moment of our students’ and communities’ lives.
Respect because we teach through every moment.
This World Teachers’ Day, as we celebrate our profession, we should start a conversation on changing the three “Rs” of teaching and school leadership. I’ll start.
From my perspective, the three “Rs” for our profession should be respect, recognition, and reward.
As you take the opportunity to celebrate this great profession of ours, what will your three Rs be?