From the President: Supporting extracurricular opportunities
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 6, 12 August 2022, page no. 7
Many times during your career as a teacher, you will provide time to support students in your schools to access as many opportunities as possible.
As we know, there are state schools in every community throughout Queensland. Some of these schools are very isolated and have only a few students. Some are in our regional centres, and have more than 1,000 students. And others are in the South East and can have up to almost 4,000 students - more people than many communities I have lived and worked in.
Our schools educate students from every walk of life, whatever their remoteness, socio-economic status, disability/ability, indigeneity, or cultural and linguistic background. Our members make decisions every day to support and provide extracurricular opportunities for the diverse communities we live in and enrich. Every. Single. Day.
In my time in central Queensland, I happily provided support in the area of sport, in particular coaching, convening, umpiring (badly), liaising, learning and managing rugby league and union. I know that the culture of school sport is different at times, and it is a different calling to club sport. School sport provides opportunities for all, very often underpinned by us in the state system. Sometimes, schools introduce students to a new sport, in which they can go on to excel and progress.
It provided me with much joy during my teaching career. The camaraderie among colleagues and the learning of new skills was of great comfort, as were building relationships and connecting with students and seeing them develop and grow outside a pure classroom environment. And the links with the wider community were also of benefit to the students and their families.
It's a similar story in the arts. In 2005, an arts showcase for students from state schools was created, fondly known as Creative Generation or C Gen - State Schools Onstage. It started with 500 students. In 2022, this event has grown to more than 1,700 students, involving more than 200 teachers. We all know that it can sometimes be a feat getting a class all going in the same direction, let alone 1,700 from the full range of schooling that we offer.
C Gen is a fully inclusive event, taking in everyone from the youngest students from our rural and remote kindy programs to students from some of our special schools.
I was fortunate enough to attend this year's event. The Acknowledgement of Country, created in partnership with peoples from the Wakka Wakka and Mununjali lands, was such a powerful start, and the show also included performances in Auslan, powerful and majestic dancing, instrumental soloists and small ensembles, and choirs surrounding the theatre; the glue of the narrative performers. Then there was the drumline, which gets the heart thumping, the individual vocalists, and the orchestras and bands that bring it all together.
But we know that these events don’t just happen. They take fundraising, practice, costumes, practice again, meetings, and liaison with the team. All of this before the students and their teachers converge on the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre to practice further and go from being multiple communities with multiple identities to one.
The look on the faces of the students was replicated on the faces of our members who continue to support this wonderful event, whether they were creative partners, equipment managers/roadies or working with the students. They were all learning new skills in industry and how a big event can come together.
The pride was evident on the faces of the families attending, often with many generations of the same family.
Of course, the contribution made to our state school students is not limited to sports or C Gen. Many of you contribute support in so many areas of a student’s life throughout your careers.
This can have an impact on workload, and that's why it was so important to secure the review of the duties associated with all teaching roles within a school as a result of EB10. We cannot address workload and wellbeing if we do not remove the things we do that are additional to our roles. This is the first review of its kind in more than 30 years.
Thank you for the work you do in supporting each other, promoting the profession through your contribution. Here’s to another arts showcase, coming somewhere near you soon.