From the President: What a year!
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 8, 12 November 2021, page no.7
Well, here we go! By the time you read this, assessing and reporting for the final time this year will be almost complete.
If you teach seniors, they will be long gone for the year, and you have achieved the first full year of implementation of the new QCE in another COVID ravaged year. Well done! What an amazing achievement.
If you are teaching junior secondary students, transitions and preparations for 2022 are no doubt well in place.
For our colleagues in primary schools, transitions from year 6 to the high school year 7 will be well underway. Students will be well prepared for their next step. And the important transition of kindergarten students to the school readiness of prep will be almost complete, under the expert tutelage and support of oour teachers and school leaders.
Our teachers and school leaders in rural and remote schools will be just about ready to turn off the lights and air conditioners for a few weeks. And the rest of us will be getting students ready for awards evenings and Christmas concerts, celebrating what has been a somewhat unusual 2021.
This has been a mammoth effort that would and could not have occurred without our school leaders, guidance officers and teachers all working towards the same goal in our Queensland state schools.
To recap on the 2021 year, we have had diverse COVID-19 school experiences across the state. The south east of Queensland felt the biggest impact, but let’s not forget our large rural centres, with both Townsville and Cairns being thrust into short, sharp lockdowns.
While our teachers and school leaders remained essential to the ongoing support of other frontline workers, this was revoked for some of our members who live on the NSW side of the border. Border crossings on the daily commute for some of our members created an ongoing and difficult journey each day.
The QTU advocated for, and won, the right for you, our members, to be recognised as a priority working group in the vaccination rollout.
We have gone from widespread lockdowns to more targeted lockdowns of communities. A big thanks and recognition here in particular to our colleagues in both the Indooroopilly State High School and Ironside State School communities. The work your schools did in continuing education for students, in what must have been a stressful and unknown situation, will take a long time to be measured adequately.
And that just encapsulates some of the COVID-19 experience of 2021. No doubt, the situation will continue to change and evolve. The QTU will continue to listen, advocate and win on behalf of members in a global pandemic.
We had a Biennial Conference in our Union’s 134th year. We presented nine Life Memberships recognising the long contributions and careers of many members. We also lost three Life Members in Merline Muldoon, Roselynne Anderson and Warren Barry. Vale to them and condolences to their families.
The year has also been spent framing up and preparing for EB10 in the schools sector. Branch meetings, Area Councils and individual schools have contemplated motions around three key areas of remuneration, equity, and teaching and learning. Many of you participated in an online survey on EB and our interest-based priorities. State Council has determined the final log of claims, and by the time school starts with Pupil Free Days next year, negotiations will have begun.
Our TAFE sector and members have been busy with their EB negotiations in the CQU EB, completing surveys on access to professional development, and the development of materials to help TAFE members know their working conditions.
The pace in the school sector continues to be fast and unpredictable. As you head into the summer break, it will be important to recharge and reset. If past years are any gauge, I’d predict another big year in 2022 for us all.
The normal stuff in schools is big enough without the other agendas that continue to impact upon education, for example enterprise bargaining, elections, budgets, day to day teaching and learning cycles, the daily grind.
Thank you for all that you have done in 2021. It has been epic.
I look forward to seeing you in the New Year, raring to go!