From the President: Join the conversation
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 6, 3 September 2021, page no.7
There are many privileges in being the President of the Queensland Teachers' Union. There is representation of members with all layers of the department. There is advocacy of members’ interests in areas of curriculum and professional standards. There is national and state level advocacy and representation with comrades from other education unions, public service unions and the wider union movement.
Teaching is a great profession, and I am a very proud teacher who would recommend it as a career pathway for others, including my own children. For me personally though, the biggest privilege and most rewarding part of the job is the regular and continued opportunities to meet and engage with you, the members of the Queensland Teachers' Union.
School visits are a valuable and truly rewarding part of my role. Talking with members and school leadership teams is such a great way to continue to gauge the pulse of our schools through conversations about the real way of things, on the ground in our schools.
Obviously, topics are extremely varied and broad. But one thing I hear often is the need for continued improvement of the profession and support for the students we teach. How do we achieve the best results for all members through consultative tools like the LCC, the nitty gritty of curriculum delivery in classrooms, the real issues facing school leaders. And through all this, permeates the need to reduce workload. These conversations often demonstrate a high level of pride in the school and its way of working being exhibited by teachers and school leaders in each school.
Attendance at branch meetings, face-to-face or via Zoom, is another rewarding way of engaging in our democratic processes. At recent branch meetings, the shaping of the log of claims for EB10, has obviously been a key topic of discussion. Interestingly, Members of Parliament attended some of my most recent meetings to gauge the views and needs of the wider membership. Occupational violence, student attendance and how to best support the needs of our students in our schools are other topics covered in depth.
The primary music teachers special interest group is also very active at these meetings outlining the importance of their roles. Their motions are backed by evidence and research at the impact of their teaching for all students. It is evident that these teachers love teaching music, every week, throughout the year. As we know, many children in our schools are motivated to attend because of the important cultural and sporting opportunities provided by our members.
Area Councils offer a different lens and opportunity to engage. Bringing together activists from a similar geographical area allows for sharing of experiences and an understanding that we are not in this alone. The thoughts and views of members across the state have very different, yet at the same time similar, flavours. Concerns about resourcing, remoteness, staffing, and access to specialists are felt across the state. Members also discuss where we’re going with curriculum in our schools (especially in the prep-10 space), the need for a clear teaching and learning experience for teachers and our students, and the use of the C2C as a tool, not a whole school planning and teaching process. The implications of the internal and external assessments are also discussed as the new QCE moves further along the path of implementation in Queensland.
Our TAFE members meet regularly to consider their sector. The CQU EB negotiation continues; work with members across the diverse organisation that is TAFE continues unabated. The provision of skills, both technical and technological, future proofing and training to assist Queensland to recover post COVID have never been so important.
Engagement with your representatives at State Council and biennially at our State Conference is most rewarding. Considering the issues felt statewide and reaching consensus on behalf of our members is worthwhile and reflected in the responsibility all feel.
In all of this, the professionalism and reflections of our members are clear and evident. The commitment to the profession and the students that we teach is obvious. Engagement in our democratic structures supports all of our members, and for that, I thank you every day. This is part of what makes our job as teachers so rewarding and meaningful.