From the President: You've earned the trust and regard of your community
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 7, 8 October 2021, page no.7
Well, here we are at the beginning of Term 4. It has probably turned out quite differently to what we had hoped and expected after the ravages and reinvention prompted by COVID-19 multiple times during 2021. A year more like 2020 than we had all anticipated.
Term 1 brings with it excitement and preparation. That leads into Term 2, with public holidays and heightened anticipation. Term 3 saw school and school community lockdowns - a first for Queensland. Staff at these schools reinvented the way they operated and continued teaching and learning for the community, all while being in quarantine themselves.
And, now we hurtle into Term 4. I don’t know about you, but Term 4 is wonderful, in a blink and you’ll miss it kind of way. Ten short weeks of teaching and learning. Assessment and reporting. And then the rewards of a year well spent. Celebrations. Transitions. Kindy to Prep; year to year; year 6 to high school and year 7; year 10 into year 11, and finally the conclusion and celebrations of the year 12s as they finish their school journeys.
For 40 years, pollsters Roy Morgan have conducted an “Image of Professions” survey. It measures the perceived ethics and honesty of a number of professions. It is no surprise that teaching is regularly in the top 5 of the most trusted and highly regarded professions. Our profession, from which all other professions come, is highly regarded for the honesty and ethics with which we operate.
Monash University’s “The Impact of COVID-19 on Perceptions of Australian Schooling” report shows that many teachers feel underappreciated and overworked, and that the profession itself is underappreciated. In direct contrast to this, public perceptions of teaching suggested that 82 per cent of people felt the teaching profession was respected, and 93 per cent of the public felt that the teaching profession was trusted. This is important for us to remember and reflect upon.
It is no surprise that many feel the profession is undervalued. There are continual reforms and demands for increased compliance, changes to the ITE and entry into university for aspirant teachers, multiple reviews and reports into the way we do our work, a culture of producing data for what seems to be data’s sake, and a slew of reportage from some in elected positions who do not understand or care to understand the work that is undertaken by all within the school gate.
However, on the other hand and more importantly, the past two years have brought the work you do into the homes of almost every household in the state and country. Your professionalism has been on display at close hand for students, their parents and guardians, and their extended families.
In Term 4, among all the other things that make the term go faster and faster each year, is World Teachers Day. Internationally celebrated on October 5, Australia will mark World Teachers Day on October 29. This year’s Queensland theme is #ThankQldTeachers. How do you celebrate World Teachers Day? Do you reflect and recognise the impact you have made? Do you acknowledge your colleagues for doing the same? Is it time to reconnect in a meaningful way? Take that break? Go to the staffroom or faculty room? Stop for lunch and a chat, and the laugh that comes from connecting with colleagues?
Have a great Term 4, and have a great week every week, and enjoy the work you do in the knowledge that you are in one of the most highly respected and trustworthy professions in the community. They know it, we know it, you should believe it.