Photo by Max Fischer
“One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.”
There can be no doubt that teaching is everything! Children start their journey of learning with their family. This learning is influenced by social, emotional, and other environmental factors. The importance of early childhood education is now recognised and the provision of this education is providing children with many skills to enable them a successful start to kinder/prep. It is then from this school-age entry point that teachers engage with children and work with them as they continue their learning journey and the next stage of growth and development.
It is easy to talk about education as every child has access to quality schooling in various systems across our country. It is difficult for interested observers, commentators and the general public to understand how other cultures approach education since there is incredible diversity around the globe. In some countries and in some cultures there are practices that exclude, restrict, and attempt to construct and even re-construct historical and social curriculum. However, education is powerful and it is this power that can inspire students to learn or alternatively, it can be used as a tool to control. In our country, we aim to inspire and create insightful, respectful and caring children and young people who will graduate with a will and a capacity to make our world a better place.
Hence, the challenges that teachers and school leaders confront and incredibly manage are complex as each child is unique.
Take a moment and think about last week. What is one thing that happened in class or in the office that was a result of your interaction with others? Was it a smile from a student or a simple ‘thank you’ from a colleague or parent?
The rush of a school day where every minute seems more demanding than the one previous, can make it difficult to process the success of teaching moments. More often than not, teachers and school leaders place greater weight on, or are quick to recall the moments that are difficult to manage. This is largely in response to the increasingly more complex workload. However, it is still very important to recognise the successes of the week.
Ralph Waldo Emerson quipped that “knowledge is when you learn something new every day”. Can you identify something that you have learnt today? Your answer might be hard to articulate, but a student could tell you something that you helped them learn. Teaching is so much more than what happens during the school day. Meetings by the dozen, planning for sport, excursions, and fundraising add complexity. However, teachers and school leaders are part of a community of learners in which they too strive to learn something new each day that will positively impact on the growth and development of those students with whom they interact.
In the case of small schools, it is significant to note that they are often at the heart of a community and the dual role of teacher and principal of such a school is breathtaking in the scope of expectation and responsibility. The exceptional professionals who lead and manage these small schools are, without doubt, fulfilling one of the most challenging roles in education, and in such contexts, demands are many but commitment is plentiful. The principal/teacher role however, can also be one of the most rewarding roles an educator can hold.
Teachers and school leaders are responsible for preparing the next generation of leaders, thinkers and artists in our society. The students of today will become the next generation of teachers. Education is powerful!
Teachers and school leaders deserve our thanks and appreciation.