Our teachers faced an unprecedented series of challenges during 2020. From the summer bushfires to the pandemic they were asked to rethink the way they worked and embraced the challenge.
The role of teachers and school leaders came to the fore during the summer’s bushfires as they positioned their schools as safe places and in the fires’ aftermath helped rebuild our students’ resilience, wellbeing and mental health.
When the pandemic struck principals and teachers had to pivot almost overnight to learning from home, working quickly to get course work online for students in a matter of days. The immense effort, creative thinking and long hours that required cannot be overstated.
In this challenging environment, our teachers ensured our students remained engaged in learning and with their peers. At the same time, they were also on an incredibly steep learning curve, especially in the use of technology.
During this time our teachers went way beyond normal duties for their students: dropping off and collecting classwork from student homes; thinking of innovative ways to maintain a sense of belonging and building community; and generally being available for their students from the confines of their own homes.
Our teachers have never been more appreciated by students, parents and the public as the pandemic has demonstrated the absolutely central role they play in our society – from the first days of learning through to career transitions post-school.
As we have moved back to school, our teachers have again risen to the challenge of teaching while keeping our students safe in a socially distanced world.
They have also embraced our important focus on school improvement and been critical supports for our 2020 HSC cohort as they have navigated their final year of school during this challenging period.
In my role, I have the privilege of meeting many of our teachers and I am always struck by the underlying motivation they have to make a difference in their community by contributing to young people’s academic and socio-emotional development, including students who are socially disadvantaged.
This World Teachers’ Day – more than any other –we want to say thank you for your great professionalism, dedication and resourcefulness. Your work is literally changing lives.