Our Changing Expectations Of Teachers
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 to 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.
I remember one of my first teaching experiences with a class of 28 Year 10s, most of whom were boys, and having to teach them Health Education. I think the teacher had specifically saved the topic on the structure of the male reproductive system just for me! I still remember how I spent hours preparing and ensuring I had every minute accounted for and that the activities were engaging. I had to make sure I was ready for the hard questions they might challenge me with.
If you ask most teachers what they love about being a teacher, it is being in the classroom, building rapport with students and engaging them in their subject area, which they are passionate about. Every day is different. Different subjects, responses from students, emotions from their students and 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.
Over the years, our expectations of teachers have continued to grow. The following image shares a teaching contract for female teachers from 1923……………… Thankfully these agreements are no longer in place!
Two of the most important roles of our teachers
- Know each student as an individual in order to understand her unique needs, learning style, social and cultural background, interests, and abilities.
- Build rapport with each student, so there is trust, respect and an openness for learning and feedback.
However, as a classroom teacher today, inspiring students in our subject matter is just one of our expectations of our teachers. In addition to academic responsibilities, teachers today are responsible for:
- Supporting faith development
- Providing co-curricular activities
- Promoting positive mental health
- Ensuring they are IT savvy
- Supporting different family dynamics
- Mentoring students
- Identifying and supporting the different learning needs of students
- Developing assessments and providing feedback for growth
- Assisting with resolving friendship issues between students
- Ensuring child safety, including yearly training
- Attending events in support of their students
- Supervising camps, excursions and incursions
- Completing risk assessments for all activities and events
- Providing career advice
- Developing budgets
- Enforcing school expectations in areas such as behaviour and uniform
- And many more……
Teachers are always learning, always adapting and as we come to the end of the term, I acknowledge all our dedicated teachers at Santa Maria College who have been exceptional in the face of adversity, provided stability while being flexible and most of all cared for all our students.