We Give Thanks For Our Teachers – Happy World Teachers Day – Jennifer Oaten

Happy World Teachers’ Day! Today is a day to celebrate the men and women who have dedicated their lives to educating the next generation. Teaching in 2022 is a challenging job.

I became a teacher because I loved science! I loved sharing my knowledge with students, inspiring them to explore ideas, perform reactions with acids, wonder in awe at a dissected heart, or learn what difference they could make to our environment. Science was my passion, and I wanted to share this with young people, so I became a teacher.

If you ask most teachers at Santa Maria College what they love about being a teacher, it is being in the classroom, building rapport with students and engaging them in their subject area. This is what they are most passionate about. Every day is different. Different subjects, different student responses and emotions, and different stories each student brings with them into the classroom.

Teaching is like being a performer on the stage, and you cannot afford to have a poor performance. Can you imagine being on a stage and performing for six hours a day for an audience of teenagers that changes every 50 minutes? Being a teacher is by no means an easy task.

In the past, teachers were primarily responsible for teaching. Today, teachers are expected to do so much more. With all of these additional responsibilities, it’s no wonder teachers feel their role is continually growing and evolving and becoming more complex.

This is not the only change. When I reflect, there have been many changes to the role of a teacher over the years. Some examples of these changes include:

  1. Teachers are expected to be experts in their subject area, provide varied, relevant learning experiences, develop assessments, and provide detailed feedback to enable student growth. Continual changes to the curriculum make this challenging.
  2. Teachers identify and support the needs of a diverse range of students whose abilities, backgrounds and prior knowledge all differ. The inclusion of all students is crucial. Teachers are expected to understand, connect with and know the strengths and weaknesses of each individual they teach.
  3. Technology has changed how teachers teach, and students learn, with more emphasis placed on online resources created by teachers and online learning tools. Teachers are expected to be tech-savvy, always learning new skills.
  4. The complexities of families and mental health challenges are more prevalent and need consideration, careful understanding and intervention, and being proactive rather than reactive. Dealing with mental health issues can be challenging for staff who have limited training in this area.
  5. Many offerings for our students require our staff to contribute their talents to provide varied co-curricular opportunities, camps, excursions, incursions and events, which must meet compliance standards.
  6. Time is a key challenge for teachers. Time is needed to ensure excellent teaching, but also time for preparation, professional learning, peer observations and continued growth as professionals.
  7. Professional development of teachers has become a priority, focused on ensuring the best possible learning opportunities are provided for students, which are key to improving student outcomes. Child safety is a key focus area.
  8. Teachers undergo regular review in many schools, including Santa Maria ensuring they continue to grow and learn, constantly refining their craft and working together to ensure the impact of whole school strategies.

As change becomes more frequent, it is increasingly essential that teachers are able to adapt. Teachers need to be agile, resilient, and able to embrace change. We need to remember why we became teachers in the first place – to make a difference in the lives of our students. If we keep this at the forefront of our minds, we can navigate these changes successfully and continue providing an excellent education for our students.

So, on World Teachers’ Day, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our teachers here at Santa Maria College and to all teachers for their passion and dedication to their students and the profession. Thank you for everything you do.

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

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