Last Friday, Australia celebrated World Teachers’ Day. As much as it is important for us to acknowledge the work of teachers, I still believe teachers themselves are the best advocates for their profession. There is much good work happening every day in classrooms around the country and too often we never hear about.
Teachers are often reluctant to promote themselves or their colleagues but as more teachers share their practice and wisdom via traditional channels and now social media, we begin to build a stronger and more skilled profession which is esteemed by the wider community.
Finland for example became an educational leader because they made teaching the most highly esteemed profession – not the most highly paid but the most highly sought after.
In celebrating World Teachers’ Day, I thought I’d ask Rosana Ingrati from St Canice’s Primary School Katoomba to reflect on what teaching means to her.
Why did you become a teacher?
I have been a teacher now for around 17 years. I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference to the greater community, and make a different to our future generation. I also love working with children, and find they are so much fun to be around.
What it means for you to be in the role?
I feel responsible to continually learn about the changes in technology and teaching practices. I work in a Catholic school so I also feel responsible to help the children grow socially and morally, as well as academically.
What challenges and opportunities do you experience?
I think keeping up with the pace of change in technology has been both a challenge and opportunity. The other thing I find challenging is finding the time to put all the excellent professional training into practice and to be able to read all the great resources I am given.
I think this is also an opportunity because it means there is so much room for professional development as a teacher.
What do you find most rewarding?
Making an impact in the lives of the children is most rewarding. I think of one story of a boy I am teaching who waited until all the other children had left the class to specially thank me for teaching him about a lesson on ‘time’. It is so nice to be appreciated like that.
I also love that I am a valued member of the whole school community, and know that the parents, colleagues and children appreciate what I (and other teachers) do.
I’m always mindful of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher on board the Challenger space shuttle who when asked about her career said ‘I touch the future, I teach.’
Teachers have significant responsibilities and they need to be proud of the work they do. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be reflective and open to change. They are not opposites, they are different sides of the same coin. As a society, we need to recognise the valuable contribution made by teachers everywhere because without them we don’t have a future.