I liken our schools to a field of dreams. From the movie of the same name, we learnt that ‘if we build it, they will come’.
Apart from the school infrastructure that needs to be constructed and maintained, we also need to become more aware of the importance and necessary work we expect our professional teaching staff to undertake.
In bygone years students existed under a threat of sometimes severe retribution should they not pay attention or perform according to the strict instructions of their teachers.
Fortunately, that concept doesn’t exist in the same form today. However, discipline is still a problem and can cause our educators considerable concern, energy and time either in the classroom or out in the playground.
Teachers are required to strictly adhere to Education Department subject curriculum from which the students will be assessed. Comprehensive written assessments for each student are required progressively throughout the year, enabling parents to be fully aware of their child’s progress in each subject.
Apart from the teacher’s physical presence in the classroom, the preparation and documentation of lessons for students and individually challenged students, is an on-going daily requirement. Other areas in which our educators are involved, and often in their own time, include discussions with individual students concerning their curriculum plans, the preparation of students for school sporting teams, and academic and community representation.
Teachers are often required to provide support to students when breakdowns occur in friendship groups, or at times when they wish to discuss general difficulties being experienced in their lives outside the classroom. Generally, in their own time, our educators attend staff meetings and parent/teacher interviews, subject selection nights and prepare work for sick or injured students to complete at home.
Our teachers need to maintain their own professional standards through study and course attendances. To say teachers get more holidays than the average worker, is grossly unfair. They are only paid for 25 hours work per week and spend many hours of their normal, private and holiday time doing unpaid school work.
In essence, teachers generally are a dedicated group. They become very aware of how each of their students see their own individual ‘field of dreams’ and are most conscious of their role in educating our young people to be productive future citizens.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s life.